“Mass casualty” car crash involving at least 26 people in Imperial County, at least 13 dead

Over a dozen people are dead following a traffic collision Tuesday morning in Imperial County in what’s being considered a “mass casualty” incident.

The numbers are unclear at this time with El Centro Medical Center saying 15 people died, 14 on scene and one at the hospital while CHP says 13 are dead, 12 on scene and one at the hospital.

The Mexican Consulate confirms at least 10 of the 13 dead are Mexican nationals. They also say it was 27 people in the SUV.

According to El Centro Medical Center, 28 people were involved in the incident, but according to CHP 25 people were involved in the accident.

All sustained injuries.

A maroon Ford Expedition was reportedly traveling westbound on Norrish Road near State Route 115 when it traveled “in the direct path” of a big rig truck carrying gravel traveling northbound on the 115.

“Obviously, that vehicle is not meant for that many people,” said Shawn Watson with CHP, “It’s unfortunate that number of people were were put into that vehicle because there’s not enough safety restraints to safely keep those people within the vehicle.”

El Centro Medical Center says they will not be releasing any information about the patients at this time.

CHP says those inside the SUV were both male and female ranging in age from 15 to 53.

Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs confirmed to NBC Palm Springs four patients were airlifted to their facility with three of those patients in the ICU.

One of those patients transported to DRMC center was the 69-year-old driver of the big rig, according to CHP.

Seven were transported to El Centro Medical Center.

Two were transported to Pioneer Hospital.

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

The collision occurred around 6:15 A.M. and cause is under investigation.

“What we have to keep in mind is that 13 people died in this crash. We owe it to the families and those killed and injured as well as the public to conduct a thorough and complete investigation,” said Watson, “Once the investigation is complete, it will be thoroughly reviewed, and as appropriate presented to the district attorney’s office.”

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

NBC Palm Springs was on scene.

Correction: A previous version of this story had the incorrect number of fatalities. This is a developing story and details, such as the number of fatalities, the number of occupants in the SUV, and the number injured may continue to change.

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