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2 children killed when SUV overturns on 60 Freeway

July 5, 2011 | 11:14 am

Two children died and six passengers were seriously injured when an SUV rolled over on a Riverside-area freeway, officials said Tuesday.

Fernando Benitez, 6, and Genesis Fuentes, 14, died when the Mitsubishi Montero in which they were passengers crashed about 9:45 a.m. Monday while eastbound on the 60 Freeway in Glen Avon.

Neither child was wearing a seat belt, said CHP spokeswoman Sylvia Vargas.

Investigators believe the Montero rolled after one of its tires blew out, and the SUV’s driver, 46-year-old Los Angeles resident Tomasa Fuentes, lost control, said Vargas.

Tomasa Fuentes is Genesis' mother. Tomasa Fuentes and two other passengers were wearing seat belts, including a baby in a car seat.

“The others weren’t and were flying free in the back” during the accident, Vargas said.

The two children died at the scene, one after being thrown from the vehicle, the other partially ejected.

All of the others in the sport utility vehicle were taken to hospitals, where they were being treated for minor to severe injuries, Vargas said.

California Highway Patrol investigators had not decided whether to file charges over the lack of seat belt use, Vargas said.

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-- Kurt Streeter

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