Officials said a collision between a large platform and an SUV carrying more than twenty people near the US-Mexico border Tuesday morning killed at least 13 people and injured several others.
It was not clear how many people were traveling in the car and the number of victims. Judy Cruz, director of the emergency department at El Centro Regional Medical Center, said 28 people were in the car.
But Arturo Platero, a spokesman for the El Centro California highways office, said there were 25 people inside the Ford Expedition SUV, designed for seven or eight passengers. He said the car was carrying at least one teenager.
Hospital authorities initially stated that 14 people died at the scene, but CHP officials later said 12 people died there, and another died at El Centro Regional Medical Center.
Platero said four people were airlifted by helicopter to the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, including the driver of the large rig. The hospital’s media officer, Todd Burke, said three of them were in intensive care.
Cruz said three people were taken to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, about 20 miles away, while six others were being treated at El Centro Reginal.
“Patients, of course, are going through a little tough time,” said Adolf Edward, CEO of El Centro Regional. “That was a big accident, and we are looking after them in the emergency department.”
CHP officials said the people in the car were between 16 and 55 years old.
Photos from the scene show a burgundy SUV, with the driver’s side wrapped around the front of the large excavator towing two trailers. The windshield of the SUV was smashed, and the cars were scattered on the ground.
CHP officials said several passengers were driven out on the road in the collision.
Dr Chavon Borchardt at El Centro Regional Medical Center said injuries ranged from fractures to life-threatening head and chest injuries. She said the hospital would transfer patients to other treatment centers once they were stabilized.
“Our staff have done a tremendous job getting everything ready for these patients and being able to handle them and take them to the right places as soon as possible, or if we can take care of them here, they will be received well,” said Borchardt.
Deputy Fire Chief, Sal Flores, said the Imperial County Fire Department and the County Emergency Services Bureau responded to a “mass death incident” at 6:16 a.m.
The SUV was traveling west on Norrish Road at the intersection of State Highway 115 and for “unknown reasons” it drove the path of the large excavator, which was heading north on the highway, according to CHP officer Jake Sanchez, a spokesperson for the agency. Border Division.
The speed limit for the big trucks along this route is 55 mph, and the T-boned SUV.
“We are not sure if it was the car [SUV] The stop sign runs or if the vehicle stops and gets in unsafe. “We are still not sure,” Platero said.
Flores said that fifteen paramedics and five fire engines arrived at the scene just north of Holtville.
El Centro Fire Department, customs and border patrol officers also assisted the Imperial County Police Office at the scene.
Flores said Interstate 115 is currently closed north of Holtville.
Senator Diane Feinstein (Democrat from San Francisco) said she was “sad” to learn of the fatal collision.
“My office is monitoring the situation closely as we learn more about this horrific collapse,” Weinstein said in a statement. “I thank the Imperial County Fire Department and other first responders for their prompt response and the various medical centers in the area that treated the injured passengers.”
For decades, there have been concerns about the rise in the death toll in crashes along the California-Mexico border. Many shipwrecks include migrants attempting to cross into the United States, with a large number of accidents occurring while being pursued by US authorities.
There is no evidence that the collision involved chasing. There was no chase, Platero said.
Los Angeles Times-ProPublica investigation It was found in 2018 that, over a period of three years, US border agents had participated in more than 500 manhunts in the border regions of California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Of these, one in three ended up in an accident. In agricultural areas of California, such as Imperial County and the Middle Valley, there have also been concerns about deaths involving farm workers crammed into vehicles.
Series of Horrific incidents involving farm workers In pickup trucks in the Central Valley, legislation enacted in the early 2000s that required trucks and buses carrying nine or more workers to be fitted with passenger seat belts and to obtain an annual safety certification from the California Highway Patrol. The laws also tightened penalties and educational programs for farmers.
Macario Mora, a spokesperson for the Customs and Border Protection Yuma and El Centro sectors, said in a statement to The Times that agency personnel were not chasing or following the SUV at the time of the crash on Tuesday, but rather responded to the scene at the request of the agency. Imperial County Mayor’s Office.
“Customs and Border Protection personnel were not involved in the incident,” said Mora. Although some news outlets have published information indicating the victims’ migration situation, Mora said that this was speculation and that the agency did not have these details at the moment.
“We don’t use an undocumented term in hospitals,” said Edward, CEO of El Centro Medical. “For us, these people who came to us are sick.”