Nine people, including seven whom the authorities described as minors, were killed in a fire collision with a 4×4. And a pickup truck in Fresno County, California, the California Highway Patrol said.
Authorities have not released the names of the victims, and the Highway Patrol said they are working with the Fresno Coroner County office to determine whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident.
The collision occurred at around eight in the evening. Local time on State Route 33, near the Fresno-Kings County line, when the SUV, a 2013 Dodge ride driven by a 28-year-old man from Avinale, California, was heading south at an unknown speed, Highway Patrol said.
When the driver approached a 2007 Ford F-150 pickup truck carrying eight people traveling in the opposite direction, he veered onto the shoulder of dirt, lost control and back across the center line, crashing straight into the pickup truck, the highway Patrol said.
Captain Kevin Clays of the California Highway Patrol told a news conference that the pickup truck “completely burst into flames,” and all eight of its passengers were killed, including seven people who “appear to be juveniles.”
S.U.V. Driver Also killed, he said.
It was not immediately clear whether the seven victims were children or teenagers. Captain Clays said the authorities are working to determine the ages of the victims.
Captain Clays said the truck was equipped with only six seat belts.
He pointed out that when people are not tied, the chances of them being seriously injured in a collision are “much greater”. He said officers who had responded to the collision were offered advice.
“It’s tragic for society,” he said. “It is tragic for our officers to respond to these incidents.