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Eleven Killed As Van Slams Into Semi On Foggy Road

Mon., Nov. 17, 1997

Eleven people, including a 1-year-old child, were killed Sunday when their van slammed into a tractor-trailer on a fog-shrouded rural highway.

The 10 adult victims were believed to be farm workers, California Highway Patrol spokesman Bill Nation said.

The truck driver told authorities the accident occurred in dense fog about 9:45 a.m., when the driver of the van tried to pass another car but did not see the oncoming semitrailer.

The truck driver, who was not seriously hurt, told the CHP he slammed on his brakes to avoid the crash, but jackknifed instead, blocking the van’s path.

One farm worker in the back of the van fractured his arm and foot and was in stable condition at a Fresno hospital. The others were dead at the scene.

Identities of the victims were not immediately available, although some of those killed were related, Nation said.

The crash occurred on straight stretch of two-lane state Highway 180 near the farming town of Mendota, roughly 160 miles southeast of San Francisco.

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