At least 15 dead after SUV crashes into truck in California

Marco Green
March 3, 2021

At least 15 people have died from a crash between an SUV and a semi-truck in Southern California Tuesday morning, according to officials with the El Centro Regional Medical Center.

The CBP spokesperson, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the case, said that the agency was not in pursuit of or aware of the vehicle until the Imperial County Sheriff's Department asked for its help at the crash site.

California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, and says 25 people were inside the SUV at the time of the accident. Both vehicles stopped, Sanchez said, but the SUV pulled out in front of the truck as both started moving. Judy Cruz, the managing director of the hospital's emergency department, also said that 14 people had died at the scene, and one more at her hospital, for a total of 15 dead.

"It was an unusual number of people in an SUV, but we don't know who they were", Mora said. Local hospital officials initially said 15 people died from the crash, but the California Highway Patrol later lowered the figure.

He said numerous people were ejected. One person died at the hospital, Cruz said.

"Patients are going through a hard time as you can imagine", Adolphe Edward, the CEO of El Centro Regional Medical Center, told CNN.

Hospital officials said they believe there were 27 passengers in the SUV that struck a semi-truck full of gravel.

Highway 115 is now blocked heading north from Holtville, Flores said. The other occupants of the Ford Expedition who survived were being treated at nearby medical facilities.

While the exact cause of the crash is under investigation, CHP officials said the big rig collided with the driver's side of the SUV at the intersection of SR-115 and Norrish Road. Numerous wrecks involve immigrants trying to cross into the USA, with a significant number of crashes occurring during chases by American authorities. US border agents have made more than 70,000 arrests and detentions in each of the past five months, and the number of teenagers and children crossing without a parent has jumped fourfold since last fall.

A series of horrific crashes involving farmworkers in vans in the Central Valley sparked legislation in the early 2000s requiring vans and buses that transport nine or more workers to be equipped with passenger seat belts and receive annual safety certification from the California Highway Patrol. The laws also stepped up penalties and education programs for growers.

Imperial County Fire said 25 additional personnel were sent to the scene, including four to five additional ambulances and four air helicopters.

The official added that the victims, including those who were transferred out of El Centro Regional Medical Center, are in stable condition.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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