California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported at least 13 people died from an accident involving an SUV and tractor-trailer near Holtville, California.
The crash between a Ford Expedition carrying 25 people and a double tractor-trailer occurred around 6:15 a.m., on Highway 115 and Norrish Road northwest of Holtville, Omar Watson, CHP border division chief, said during a press conference.
“The big rig was traveling northbound on Highway 115 south of Norrish at an unknown speed. The Ford Expedition was westbound on Norrish Road, just east of 115 at the intersection,” Watson said.
“It’s unknown whether or not the [Ford Expedition] stopped at the stop sign, but it did enter the intersection in front of the big rig. Subsequently, the big rig collided with the left side of the Ford Expedition,” Watson said.
Twelve occupants of the Ford Expedition were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, according to Watson. The passengers of the SUV ranged in ages from 16-55.
One other person from the SUV was transported to the hospital where they succumbed to their injuries. The other occupants of the Ford Expedition who survived were being treated at nearby medical facilities.
Watson said the tractor-trailer driver sustained moderate injuries and was transported to a regional medical center where he was being treated.
“This was not a Border Patrol pursuit, this is not associated with other agencies. We’re not sure exactly what caused the collision. But there were no law enforcement agencies involved with this incident,” Watson said.
The Ford Expedition should only fit six people, Watson said.
“Obviously that vehicle is not meant for that many people. It’s unfortunate that that number of people were put into that vehicle,” Watson said.
El Centro Regional Medical Center officials are reporting with updated numbers that the SUV was carrying 28 people and 15 died during the accident — 14 deaths on the scene and another in the emergency room. Six others taken to El Centro remain alive. In addition, four patients were taken to another medical center while three were transferred to Pioneers Memorial Hospital.
More articles by Noi Mahoney