At least 12 dead, dozen more injured, in fatal SUV-truck crash in US-Mexico border

A fatal car crash between a semitruck and an SUV in California, near the border between the US and Mexico, resulted in the death of at least 12 individuals with about a dozen or more injured. The SUV was packed with people, which explained the high count of dead bodies from a single incident. CNN reported that on Tuesday, the SUV pulled out in front of the semitruck that was towing two trailers.

Authorities noted that a Ford Expedition can safely seat up to eight people. However, the one that figured in the crash had no rear seats.

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The vehicle reportedly carried 25 passengers aged 15 to 53. Some of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle and died.

There were also bodies found inside the vehicle. The Washington Post described the incident as gruesome, saying that some wounded were trying to free themselves from the wreckage, while there were others who were walking around without direction. There are still conflicting tallies of dead bodies and the number of injured since police authorities and the hospital gave different figures. California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Omar Watson stated that 13 died including the driver.

He added that it is still premature to speculate as to what happened during the collision. He added that they owe it to the families of those killed and injured to conduct a thorough investigation. Watson also tackled the issue of the car seats in the SUV, saying that they do not know if the seats were cut out or removed.

He also said that he was not sure but what was certain was that the seats were not inside the vehicle. This follows that there were also not enough safety belts for all the SUV passengers. One thing that stumped authorities was that some of the passengers did not have identification or any indication of where they were from.

Authorities were able to identify the driver, who was from Mexicali, a city in Mexico. On the other hand, the 69-year-old driver of the semitruck had moderate injuries, and that the trailers that were being pulled were not loaded.

Crosses are seen near the scene of the crash on State Route 115 near the town of Holtville, California not far from Mexico Photo: AFP / Patrick T. FALLON

“We are close to the border, so we have people who come back and forth daily for work,” said Watson.

While this was the data provided by police, the El Centro Regional Medical Center’s (ECRMC) managing director, Judy Cruz, stated that the SUV had 28 occupants, and that 15 died.

Adolphe Edward, the CEO of ECRMC stated that the car crash was a major incident.

He also advised the public not to tag the occupants of the SUV as “undocumented.”