collision between a crowded passenger vehicle and a heavy truck left thirteen dead and many injured on the morning of Tuesday, March 2, in southern California, traffic police said, slightly downgrading a first assessment given earlier by a hospital. The accident, which occurred around 6:15 a.m. near the border with Mexico, involved a heavy truck towing two trailers that crashed into a large Ford Model Expedition SUV crossing a national highway at a stop sign.
“There were 25 people in the Ford Expedition, including the driver. Unfortunately, twelve of the occupants, including the driver, died on the spot and another person died of his injuries after being taken to hospital, ”said Omar Watson, head of the hospital, at a press conference. California highway police investigating.
The victims are said to be between 20 and 55 years old
According to the Ford website, the Expedition model is designed to accommodate a maximum of eight people. Earlier, an official from a nearby hospital in El Centro said a total of 28 people were in the SUV and fifteen of them had died. According to Chief Watson, the deceased victims are between 20 and 55 years old but at least one of the injured passengers was a minor, aged 16.
The identity of the 22-year-old driver was confirmed but was not disclosed by the emergency services, who were still trying at midday to identify certain passengers, a task made all the more difficult by the violence of the shock. Some injured spoke to investigators “but they did not provide enough information to help us understand why the collision occurred,” said Omar Watson during a second press briefing.
Some of the victims could come from neighboring Mexico and the police officer explained “working with the Mexican consulate to determine who exactly was in the vehicle and ensure that the families are notified.” “A lot of people in the vehicle didn’t speak English. (…) We are close to the border and there are people who come and go daily for work and we cannot exclude “that the passengers came from Mexico, later explained Chief Watson.
The testimony of the driver of the heavy truck expected by the investigators
Omar Watson insisted the collision did not occur during a chase involving law enforcement. In the past, a number of road accidents have been linked to interventions by the border police pursuing persons suspected of having entered the United States illegally. The driver of the truck, who was only “moderately injured”, should be able to help investigators trace the facts with his testimony.
Images of the collision broadcast by local media show a white heavy truck, its two trailers jacketed across the road, the front recessed into the side of a large burgundy-colored SUV. The cab of the truck is almost intact but the other vehicle, although still on its four wheels, appears to be badly damaged.