Three California Conservation Corps crew members were killed Tuesday morning in a collision near Reedley as they were en route to a water conservation turf removal project, officials said.
The three were identified by the Governor’s Office as Justin Vanmeter, 21, and Rhonda Shackelford, 20, both of Clovis, and Serena Guadarrama, 18, of Fresno. A CCC staff supervisor and two other corps members were hospitalized in Fresno and Visalia, the Governor’s Office said.
The crash took place at East South and South Buttonwillow avenues at 8:15 a.m. California Highway Patrol spokesman Axel Reyes said a Peterbilt big rig dump truck pulling two trailers of rocks was southbound on Buttonwillow. The California Conservation Corps Dodge Ram van from Fresno was eastbound on South.
The big rig had the right-of-way because of a stop sign on South Avenue, Reyes said. The van stopped at the intersection, but then pulled in front of the Peterbilt and was broadsided by the big rig, Reyes said.
All of the passengers in the van were in their teens and 20s.
The victim with major injuries was taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. The other van passengers suffered less serious injuries and went to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia.
The big rig driver, a 54-year-old Reedley man, was not injured.
Vanmeter and Shackelford joined the CCC in January and Guadarrama joined last December for a year of natural resource protection and emergency response work, the Governor’s Office said. They were assigned to the Fresno satellite office.
In a statement, Gov. Jerry Brown extended condolences to the families of the three corps members who were killed.
“Anne and I are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of these California Conservation Corps members. These three individuals had just embarked on a year of service and had so much ahead of them. Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues as they mourn this tremendous loss and our thoughts are also with the others injured today.”