At about 06:15 local time in the morning, a 1997 Ford Expedition carrying 25 people was hit by a gravel-hauling truck, resulting in the deaths of at least 13 people on a highway in southern California near the USA-Mexico border. While the driver of the Ford vehicle has been identified as a 22 year-old male from the city of Mexicali, Mexico, officials in the United States are currently working with the Mexican consulate to help identify whether other victims are also from Mexico. Several people are currently being treated at local medical facilities, including the driver of the gravel truck who suffered moderate injuries.
Californian Highway Patrol Chief Omar Watson says that several passengers of the Ford vehicle, which is a 3-row SUV with capacity for 8 people, were launched from the vehicle upon collision. By the time first responders reached the scene of the incident, 12 people were already dead. A 13th person passed away at a local hospital.
As of now, the cause of the crash is under investigation. Investigators are trying to determine why so many people were in one vehicle at the same time, and whether the driver of the Ford vehicle, who was killed in the crash, had stopped at a stop sign before crossing into the path of the truck. Some officials including Border Patrol Macario Mora suggested that the victims may be farmworkers involved in the harvesting of winter greens in nearby agricultural areas.
Note: All photos used in this article were retrieved from the public domain, and do not require attribution or citation for commercial purposes. The first image used in this article depicts a 1997-1998 model Ford Expedition, similar to the vehicle involved in this latest incident.