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Father Tried To Rescue Wife And Four Children Who Died In Fiery Crash

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A man tried in vain to pull his wife and four children from the wreckage of a fiery crash in the Central Valley this weekend.

The family of five was headed to Fresno in two separate cars to celebrate the birthday of their son Isaac Saucedo, who was supposed to turn 2 today. The father was trailing behind a Ford SUV carrying his wife Esmeralda Saucedo, 29, and four children, when he witnessed the SUV collide with a minivan and burst into flames.

The father smashed windows in a desperate bid to rescue his wife, Isaac, 11-year-old Breanna Reyes-Saucedo, 6-year-old Jada Saucedo and 3-year-old Nikko Saucedo, according to ABC 30. But all five died in the fire, and bystanders had to pull the father away from the flames. Witness Lori Pierce told the local ABC affiliate, "He seemed to be so distraught, he was wanting to get his wife and children out of the car and my husband had to intervene because he was in such shock, at that point we just had to pull him away."

The crash happened Saturday night around 7 p.m. in Riverdale, a rural area south of Fresno. CHP said that it appears that driver of the minivan Juana Martinez Bejarano, 41, of Riverdale blew through a stop sign at 60 mph. The front of the minivan hit the side of the SUV, according to the Fresno Bee. Bejarano was hospitalized with moderate injuries. Investigators don't believe alcohol played a role in the crash, but they are looking into whether Bejarano was on medication that might have affected her driving.

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Pierce, who lives near the intersection of the crash with her husband Robert Pierce, told the Fresno Bee that there have been several fatal crashes at that intersection since they moved there. Robert Pierce said, "The best thing they could do for this intersection is put the reflection bumps on the road. Even if it saves one life, it's worth it."

The family has two separate pages—here and here—dedicated to paying for the funeral expenses for the family.