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Mother, 4 children die in Calif. crash

FRESNO, Calif. — A Central California mother and her four children were killed in a fiery crash during the weekend after a vehicle ran a stop sign and hit their sport utility vehicle, authorities said.

The crash occurred after 7 p.m. Saturday when a 2004 Nissan Quest minivan ran a stop sign and hit the vehicle carrying the 29-year-old woman and her four children — boys ages 1 and 3 and girls ages 6 and 11, Highway Patrol officer Axel Reyes said.

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The family members were riding in a 2003 Ford Expedition SUV at an intersection in Fresno County when the crash occurred, Reyes said. Within minutes, the SUV was fully in flames.

The woman’s husband, driving a quarter-mile behind the SUV, saw the vehicle burst into flames and tried unsuccessfully to free his family from the vehicle, including breaking the windows, Reyes said. He received minor burns to his hands. His wife and four children died at the scene.

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The minivan’s driver, 41-year-old Juana Martinez Bejarano, was hospitalized for major injuries. Highway Patrol officers and fire officials are investigating the crash.

Associated Press

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