Local

Sole Survivor of Hit and Run Crash Talks to Action News

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The sole survivor of a crash in Fresno County is talking about the tragic accident that claimed four family members. Angel Nunez, Nelson Nunez, Jose Menjivar and Wilfredo Menjivar died Monday. The CHP says a driver hauling tomatoes ran a stop sign at an intersection, hitting their car and killing all four instantly.

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Bank of America
318 Robertson Blvd
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Account Number: 08757-66742
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The graphic scene continuously replays in the mind of the young woman who survived. She hasn't even started to accept what this loss will mean for her entire family. She says Monday was the first morning they took a new alternate route to work to save some time.

Concepsion Lopez has a few cuts on her face and a black eye. The mother of two says she was asleep buckled up in the back seat behind the driver when the roof of the Honda she was riding in was sheared off. She was the only one who lived.

"I don't know how I survived and I don't believe it. But I think god didn't want me to leave my family and kids alone," said Lopez.

Her emotional wounds will take much longer to heal. Her husband, Angel Nunez died in the accident. So did her brother Jose Menjivar, her brother in law Nelson Nunez and her cousin Wilfredo Menjivar.

Lopez said, "I feel very traumatized. I don't know what I'm going to do. I asked somebody in the hospital if they can help me with therapy because I feel very bad. I don't know what I'm going to do."

The group was headed to Huron around 5:30 Monday morning to work in the fields picking cantaloupe. Highway patrol officers say a big rig driver hauling tomatoes blew through a stop sign before hitting the car. Lopez awoke moments after the fatal crash to hear a passerby tell her the man who caused the accident left.

"A woman told me I'm sorry the truck already left. He didn't want to help. He saw what happened and he left, he escaped. That's all she told me," said Lopez.

In the Chowchilla neighborhood where the group lived, neighbors say despite the language barrier, the family was generous and thoughtful.

Laura Riemenschneider said, "He brings me a case of cantaloupe. But the little girl said my dad's got something for you. I said what is it and he brought them over and put them on the front porch and then I said gracias because he couldn't talk English. Very very nice quiet people."

The father of two of the victims stared at their picture wondering how he will be able to raise the more than $50-thousand dollars needed to send all four men back to El Salvador to be buried.

Officers suspect Lopez survived since she is short in stature. Whatever the reason, the 23 year old says she has many responsibilities and obligations she must fulfill.

Lopez said, "I know I need to stay strong and keep moving forward for my kids. I have to go on."

Family members started making flyers to ask for donations to pay for burial costs. Just to transport the bodies, estimates are about $13-thousand dollars per person.

The family has set up a bank account for anyone willing to help.

Bank of America
318 Robertson Blvd
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Account Number: 08757-66742

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