At least 13 people were killed, and around a dozen others were hospitalized after a semi-truck carrying gravel collided with an SUV in Imperial County, California. Three people had to be airlifted to the hospital. A local area hospital initially said that 15 people had died, but the California Highway Patrol clarified that twelve people were reported dead at the scene, and one person died in the hospital.
There are differing reports of how many people were in the Ford Expedition at the time of the crash. While officials at El Centro Regional Medical Center said there were 28 people in the vehicle, the California Highway Patrol said that 25 people were inside the SUV, which is only designed to hold up to eight people.
Hospital officials said that four people were airlifted to the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, including the driver of the semi-truck. Three of them are in intensive care. Nine others were transported to local area hospitals.
Authorities have not released the identity of the victims.
"Patients are going through a difficult time, as you can imagine," El Centro Regional Medical Center CEO Adolphe Edward said. "This was a major accident, and we are taking care of them in the emergency room department."
Investigators have not determined the cause of the accident, which occurred about ten miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. The semi-truck T-boned the SUV, but it is unclear if the SUV ran a stop sign or if the semi-truck was speeding at the time.
"We're not sure if the vehicle [SUV] ran the stop sign or if the vehicle stopped and entered unsafely. We're still unsure," said Arturo Platero, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol's El Centro office.
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