15 killed in major vehicle crash in Imperial County, California

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An SUV packed with people crashed into a semi-truck in Imperial County, California, on Tuesday morning, leaving 15 dead, hospital officials said.

A vehicle was traveling westbound on Norrish Road near State Route 115 when it traveled “in the direct path” of a big rig truck traveling northbound on the 115, California Highway Patrol officer Arturo Platero said. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

There were 27 passengers in the SUV that struck a semi-truck full of gravel, said Judy Cruz, the managing director of the Emergency Room Department at El Centro Regional Medical Center.

She said 14 people were dead on the scene, and another person died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

“Patients are going through a difficult time as you can imagine,” El Centro Regional Medical Center CEO Adolphe Edward said. “This was a major accident and we are taking care of them in the emergency room department.”

Imperial County Fire officials said multiple agencies were responding to the crash, which is being treated as a mass casualty event.

The site of the crash is in southeastern California about 10 miles east of El Centro and about 10 miles north of the Mexican border.