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Goya workers in fatal crash, pair strikes truck on way to work

The general manager of Goya Foods of Massachusetts said two Woonsocket, R.I., men killed in an accident early yesterday morning on Route 16 in Douglas were workers at the company’s site in Webster.

Goya General Manager Carlos M. Mangual said Marcos Vargas, 40, and Hugo Leonel Garcia-Deleon, 27, were well-liked by other workers at the company, which employs about two dozen people at 5 Goya Drive, Webster. Mr. Mangual said Mr. Vargas drove a truck for Goya Foods for about three years; Mr. Garcia-Deleon, his helper, was his cousin. They were heading to work when the accident occurred, Mr. Mangual said.

“They were good workers,” Mr. Mangual said. “It is a great loss to Goya.”

The 2001 Toyota Camry Mr. Vargas was driving westbound collided about 4:30 yesterday morning with a Goya Foods tractor-trailer being driven east by Joel A. Lasanta, 28, of North Oxford, according to police. The accident happened about half a mile west of Cedar Street, Douglas.

Douglas Police Chief Patrick Foley said the victims, both of 108 Morin Heights Blvd., Woonsocket, were taken to Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, where they were pronounced dead.

The truck driver saw the car driver having difficulty maintaining control, Chief Foley said. The Camry slid sideways into the tractor-trailer, according to Chief Foley, and came to a stop in the east lane and the truck came to a stop in the middle of the road.

Chief Foley said the truck driver did everything he could to avoid the car, but the car wound up crashing into the trailer.

“The truck had no place to go,” Chief Foley said.

Douglas police said highway department trucks had been called out at 4 a.m. to work on snow-covered roads.

Mr. Lasanta and a passenger in the truck, Julio F. Morales, 23, of Webster, were not injured, police said. Mr. Lasanta, who was being assisted in this morning’s delivery run to Boston by Mr. Morales, has been a truck driver for Goya for about 18 months.

“He’s taking it very hard,” Mr. Mangual said of Mr. Lasanta. “He said there was nothing he could do to avoid the accident.”

News of the fatalities spread quickly at the company site near Route 12, which is primarily a dispatch center for the delivery of Goya Foods in the area.

“It’s a very somber day,” Mr. Mangual said. “They don’t believe what happened.”

“They’re good people,” Mr. Mangual said of all the people involved in yesterday’s accident.

“Everybody liked them,” Mr. Mangual said of Mr. Vargas and Mr. Garcia-Deleon. “We are a family here. We treat everybody like family.”

Route 16 was closed for about five hours so local and state police could investigate.

Source:  telegram.com