Authorities Monday were investigating what led a Toyota Prius to veer off Interstate 10 in Desert Center and overturn, killing the driver and injuring three of her passengers.
The crash was reported just before 11 a.m. Sunday on eastbound Interstate 10 west of Desert Center, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jackie Quintero.
The 2003 Prius driven by Rachel Lopez, 40, of Moreno Valley, went off the left side of the freeway and overturned in the open dirt center median, Quintero said. Lopez was airlifted to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio, where she died about two hours later, according to the county coroner’s office.
Her three passengers — a 48-year-old man, a 15-year-old boy and an 8- year-old boy — were also taken to the hospital with injuries ranging from minor to moderate, authorities said.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but Quintero said alcohol and drugs did not appear to be contributing factors. All four of the Prius’ occupants were wearing their seatbelts, she said.
Traffic along Interstate 10 was stopped for about half an hour to allow a helicopter to land on the freeway and airlift Lopez to the hospital.