What to Know
- The crash was reported at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday in El Centro, about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico Border at Calexico and about 100 miles east of downtown San Diego.
- A big rig hauling gravel and an SUV carrying 25 people crashed at an intersection for reasons still under investigation.
- The SUV had a driver and front passenger seat, but no rear seats.
The National Transportation Safety Board is set to launch its investigation Wednesday into a crash that killed 13 people and injured more than a dozen others in Imperial County, California, as special agents from the Department of Homeland Security investigate the matter as a possible human smuggling attempt.
At around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, a big rig hauling gravel collided with a Ford Expedition carrying 25 people near El Centro, an area about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico Border at Calexico, according to the California Highway Patrol. The area is about 100 miles east of downtown San Diego.
Imperial County Crash
More information on the deadly incident.
Twenty-five people whose ages ranged from 15 to 53 were traveling in the SUV that was in the crash on Route 115, California Highway Patrol Chief Omar Watson said. The vehicle had a driver and front passenger seat, but no rear seating.
The Mexican Foreign Affairs Undersecretary confirmed 10 of the 13 people who died were Mexican nationals. Two people who were hospitalized near the scene then transferred to San Diego-area hospitals were Guatemalan nationals, authorities said.
Twelve people, including the driver of the SUV, died at the scene while a 13th person died while en route to a hospital. Thirteen people were taken to El Centro Regional Medical Center, Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, California, and Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.
Later, four people were transferred to UC San Diego Medical Center and two others were taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego County.
Authorities said the surviving patients' injuries ranged from fractures to life-threatening head injuries. The status of each patient, as of Wednesday morning, has not been disclosed.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.