At least 13 dead after SUV, truck collide in California

Henrietta Strickland
March 3, 2021

A total of 25 occupants, including a driver, were traveling in the SUV at the time of the crash, he told reporters earlier in the day. There is little additional concrete information about them, where they had come from or where they were going. Both vehicles came to a rest off the side of a rural road about 10 miles north of the US-Mexico border.

'It would be premature of me to speculate on what happened at this collision.

"We continue in close collaboration with authorities with the aim of assisting the Mexican people killed and injured", Velasco said on Twitter.

Hospital and police officials gave slightly different tallies of the injured and dead in the incident.

Cruz said 11 injured people were taken to regional hospitals, including seven to El Centro and four who were airlifted to a larger hospital straight from the scene due to the severity of their injuries.

Overhead video in Imperial County shows the brutal aftermath of the crash, with the jack-knifed semitruck smashed into the left side of a Ford Expedition.

The El Centro Regional Medical Center said during a Tuesday news conference that there were 28 passengers inside an "SUV" that struck a semi-truck full of gravel.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said late Tuesday that agents in its Homeland Security Investigations unit "have initiated a human smuggling investigation (into Tuesday's crash)".

Edward said in an interview that he believed the victims were undocumented immigrants who may have crossed the border recently.

In response to questions about the SUV's passengers, Watson said investigators were working to determine their identities and also to notify the families who lost loved ones.

Judy Cruz, the emergency department director for El Centro Regional Medical Center, initially said 27 people were riding in the SUV when it crashed and that 15 people had died, including 14 at the scene and one at the hospital. The trailers he was pulling were not loaded, Watson said. And when it collided with the empty tractor-trailer Tuesday at 6:15 a.m., 23 other men and women were jammed into the back of the vehicle. It was a sunny, clear morning and authorities said the tractor-trailer and its two empty containers were northbound on State Highway 115 when the SUV pulled in front of it from Norrish Road. "For reasons still under investigation, the Ford Expedition entered the intersection in front of the big rig".

Some of the people who died had been ejected from the SUV by the force of the impact, Watson said. "The fire department had to cut the right front seat out of the vehicle to extricate people".

The cause of the collision was undetermined, authorities said, and it also was unknown why so many people were crammed into a vehicle built to hold eight people safely. 'What it indicates is that there were not enough safety belts for the passengers'.

"The patients are going through a little bit of a hard time as you can imagine, this was a major accident", said Dr. Adolphe Edward, CEO El Centro Regional Medical Center, during an update. Most of the dead were Mexicans, a Mexican official said.

Three patients were transfered to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, California.

"We had 12 fatalities on scene, one person passed over at the hospital, a total of 13 people passed away", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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