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Grandview man escapes serious injury in double fatality auto accident

PROSSER - Two passengers in a 1995 Plymouth Neon that ran a stop sign on Gap Road, just northwest of Prosser, died this past Saturday afternoon.

The Neon collided with a 1991 Ford F-600 farm truck, which was eastbound on Hanks Road and driven by Margarita C. Martinez, 28, of Grandview. Sgt. Bill Morey of the Benton County Sheriff's Office said the Neon was northbound on Gap Road and failed to stop at the stop sign at Hanks Road. The farm truck, said Morey, struck the driver's side of the Plymouth.

Morey said the cause of the accident, as well as the use of passenger restraint devices, remains under investigation.

Pronounced dead at the scene of the 4 p.m. accident on Saturday was 16-year-old Serrano Gabriela Gonzalez of Mattawa. A passenger in the left rear seat, she died of massive head and chest injuries.

A 3-month-old boy, Ricardo Rogelio Ponce of Mattawa, was pronounced dead after being taken to Prosser Memorial Hospital. The baby had been seated in a child restraint seat in the middle of the back seat. He died of massive head and chest injuries.

Two other passengers in the '95 Plymouth Neon also suffered injuries. Manuel Hernandez, 18, a right rear seat passenger, sustained head and chest injuries. He was listed in critical condition yesterday (Sunday) at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. A right front seat passenger, 18-year-old Santiago Ponce of Mattawa, suffered cuts and bruises. He was treated and released from Prosser Memorial Hospital.

The driver of the Neon, 23-year-old Octavio Ponce-Gutierrez of Mattawa, suffered massive head and chest injuries and was transported to Harborview Medical Center. As of early Sunday afternoon, he was listed in critical condition.

The driver of the farm truck, Martinez, was treated for minor injuries at Prosser Memorial Hospital and released.

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