At least 15 killed in California crash near U.S.-Mexico border


A California crash killed at least 15 people and injured more than a dozen others, including children, after a vehicle packed with passengers suspected of recently crossing the southern border collided with a tractor-trailer north of Mexico, according to the hospital officials and the California Highway Patrol.

Jake Sanchez, an agency spokesman, said the fatal collision occurred about 6:15 a.m. on state Highway 115 near a remote California farming town at the intersection with Norrish Road – about 15 miles north of the border – when the sport utility vehicle struck the truck hauling gravel. The Ford Expedition, which has seating for up to eight passengers, was transporting at least three times as many people when the crash occurred.

Deputies described a gruesome scene in which 14 people were found dead at the scene and the wounded walked around aimlessly or tried to free themselves from the vehicle. Some of the at least 25 passengers had been ejected while others were found dead inside the mangled SUV.

El Centro Regional Medical Center CEO Adolphe Edward said seven victims were brought to the facility and one died shortly after arriving at the hospital. He said the victims suffered extensive injuries and at least two patients were transferred to the University of California at San Diego hospital for a “higher level of care than what we can provide.”

Edward said in an interview that he believes the victims were undocumented immigrants who may have crossed the border recently.

“It was a horrific crash,” he said. During a news conference later in the day, Edward added that for the hospital these people were not “undocumented immigrants” but patients who needed their care. A representative for the Mexican consulate was present during the hospital news conference.


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