An SUV packed with people and a semitruck hauling trailers of gravel slammed into each other in Imperial County, California, on Tuesday morning, leaving 15 dead and others hospitalized, officials said.
Overhead video of the scene shows the brutal aftermath of the crash, with the jack-knifed semitruck smashed into the left side of the SUV. Both vehicles came to a rest off the side of the road.
There were 27 passengers in the SUV during the crash, 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. Other passengers are being treated at El Centro Regional Medical Center and at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in nearby Brawley.
“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.”
The Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs is caring for four patients from the crash, hospital director of communications Todd Burke told CNN. Three of the four patients are in the intensive care unit, and all four were flown in directly from the scene to the trauma center.
California Highway Patrol Officer Arturo Platero said the vehicle was moving westbound on Norrish Road near State Route 115 when it traveled “in the direct path” of a big rig truck traveling northbound on 115. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
CNN has reached out to the individual who posted the video of the scene but they did not immediately respond.
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.