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Van Packed With Migrant Workers Crashes; 1 Killed

April 18, 1992

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) _ A van packed with migrant workers overturned after a tire blew, killing the driver and critically injuring two of 15 passengers, authorities said.

The group, which included a small child, was headed to Fort Myers after spending the day picking tomatoes in nearby Bonita Springs. None was wearing a seatbelt, authorities said.

″The left side is cut open like a can opener,″ said Trooper Joaquin Fundora of the Florida Highway Patrol.

The driver apparently lost control when the tire blew on an interstate freeway. The van flipped at least four times, throwing nearly all of the occupants from the vehicle, troopers said.

The driver was identified by relatives as Fidel Paz, 24, of a small village in Oaxaca, Mexico. A woman and a child believed to be 6 or 7 were in critical condition, troopers said.

The other injured passengers, whose conditions weren’t immediately available, were taken to three area hospitals.

Troopers said the blown tire was a retread, and wasn’t able to bear such a heavy load.

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