Authorities responded to the scene of a fatal vehicle collision that claimed the lives of 13 people Tuesday after a semi-truck vehicle hauling two trailers struck a Ford Expedition SUV carrying 25 people.
The collision, which is being considered a “mass-casualty incident,” occurred just after 6:15 a.m. on March 2 in Holtville, California. In a statement, Chief Omar Watson, of California Highway Patrol’s Border Division, reported 12 people had died at the scene and others died on the way or at the hospital, which was located 11 miles north of the U.S-Mexico border and 100 miles east of San Diego on a Southern California highway.
Law enforcement officials said it is unclear if the SUV stopped at a stop sign while traveling west on Norrish Road before crossing the intersection, directly into the path of the big rig, which was transporting gravel. The semi struck the left side of the SUV, which was pushed off of the roadway by the force of the collision.
Several people were ejected from the SUV, which legally can hold up to nine people.
“Obviously, that vehicle’s not meant for that many people,” Watson told KMVT on Tuesday. “It’s unfortunate that that many people were put into that vehicle because there’s not enough safety constraints to safely keep those people in that vehicle.”
Four of the occupants were flown to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs in critical condition. Additional surviving occupants were transported to various hospitals in stable condition. Authorities have yet to identify those killed in the collision, however, officials have reported those who died were between the ages of 20-50 years old.
The driver of the semi-truck has also been hospitalized with moderate injuries. Those who were injured in the collision have also yet to be identified, but authorities have stated they ranged between 16-55 years old.
“We are working with the Mexican consulate to make sure we know who was in the vehicle and make sure we notify next of kin,” Watson told KIRO. He said authorities have identified the driver of the SUV, though he declined to release the driver’s name in the immediate aftermath of the wreck.
Intersection accidents occur through driver error — such as when a vehicle is traveling too fast, when a driver fails to yield to a red light or stop sign, or when a driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated or distracted. Accidents at intersections can cause serious injuries and expenses for those involved, and those harmed in an intersection accident due to another’s negligence deserve to be compensated.
The liable party needs to be identified immediately to begin the claims process. The law offices of El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, located in Los Angeles, advocates for victims of negligent driving.
Attorneys at El Dabe Ritter know how to comprehensively investigate intersection accidents to make a fault determination, have experience negotiating with insurance adjusters, and aren’t intimidated by the prospect of litigation.
To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, please reach out to El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers online or by phone: