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3 Killed, 6 Hurt as Group's Van Overturns on I-10

June 30, 1996| Associated Press

PALM SPRINGS — A van carrying members of a San Bernardino youth group overturned on a freeway, killing three and injuring six, when the driver dozed off, the California Highway Patrol said.

The van was traveling about 75 mph when it went out of control Friday morning on Interstate 10 between Palm Springs and Cabazon.

"The van just started flipping," said 17-year-old passenger Kevin Muldrew. "It was like a nightmare."

"It was bouncing so hard every door fell open," Muldrew said.

Two people died at the scene and a third died at the hospital.

Two passengers were hurt when they were flung 25 feet off a bridge to the bottom of a dry riverbed.

The Riverside County coroner's office did not identify the dead Saturday, but relatives identified one man as Art Esquer, president of Canyon Lake-based Future Teens of America.

The nonprofit group offers youths a chance to earn money by selling candy. Candy bars littered the crash scene.

The driver, John Herreres, 25, of Lake Elsinore told CHP officers that he dozed off and awoke as the van was heading toward a center divider. Herreres lost control as he swerved from the divider and then overcorrected, CHP Officer Randy Dopp said.

Amanda Jones, 15, was listed in serious condition at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Eric Ward, 17, was listed in fair condition, a nursing supervisor said.

Jones suffered a broken pelvis and a concussion. Ward had a broken leg, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.

A 19-year-old man was listed in fair condition.

Three others, whom the hospital did not identify, were treated and released.

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