A crash between a big rig and an SUV, which officials say, was carrying more than two dozen people near the U.S.-Mexico border the morning of March 2, killed at least 13 and injured several others. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, California Highway Patrol officials said there were 25 people crammed into the Ford Expedition SUV, which is intended for seven or eight travelers.
Fatal or Life-Threatening Injuries
Officials said the SUV was headed west on Norrish Road at the intersection of State Highway 115. For unknown reasons, it drove into the path of the big rig, which was northbound on the highway. The truck t-boned the SUV. It is not clear if the SUV ran the stop sign or if it stopped and entered unsafely, officials said.
Thirteen people have died from their injuries and four others including the driver of the big rig were airlifted to a trauma center in Palm Springs. Three of those victims are in the intensive care unit. Three others were transported to another hospital and six more victims were being treated for their injuries in an area hospital as well. CHP officials said the people in the SUV ranged in age from 16 to 55.
Many of the passengers were ejected onto the roadway in the collision. The injuries ranged from fractures to life-threatening head and chest injuries, doctors treating the victims have said. The collision was treated by emergency personnel as a “mass fatality incident.”
Ongoing Investigation and Questions
For a long time now, there have been serious concerns about the high death toll in crashes along the California-Mexico border. A number of the accidents involve immigrants trying to cross over to the U.S. with a significant number of crashes happening during chases by Border Patrol or other U.S. authorities.
However, in this case, there was no indication that the SUV was being pursued. A series of horrific accidents involving farmworkers in the Central Valley also led to laws in the early 2000s requiring vans and buses that transport nine or more workers to be equipped with seatbelts and get annual safety certification from the CHP.
We offer our deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one in this horrific crash. We also wish all the injured victims the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. There are still a number of unanswered questions here. We trust officials looking into who was responsible. Injured victims and families of deceased victims in such cases would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and help ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.