‘Mass Fatality’ Accident Reported on Imperial County Highway

A collision between a semi-trailer and a pickup truck carrying more than two dozen people near the US-Mexico border Tuesday morning left 15 dead and several injured, authorities said.

Twenty-seven people were in the truck when it collided with a trailer truck carrying gravel, said Judy Cruz, director of the emergency department at El Centro Regional Medical Center.

Fourteen people died at the scene. One more died at El Centro Regional Medical Center, where six others are being treated, Cruz said. At least five other people have been flown from the scene to other treatment centers, he said.

“Patients, of course, are going through a bit of a difficult time,” said Adolphe Edward, executive director of El Centro Regional Medical Center. “This was a serious accident and we are treating them in the emergency department.”

Four people were airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where three of them are in intensive care, said the hospital’s public information officer, Todd Burke.

Deputy Fire Chief Sal Flores said the Imperial County Fire Department and the county Office of Emergency Services responded to a “mass death incident” at 6:16 a.m.

Units from the El Centro Fire Department are also on the scene, along with Border Patrol and Customs officers, who are assisting the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.

Fifteen first responders and five fire trucks arrived at the scene off Highway 115, just north of Holtville, Flores said. A helicopter buzzed overhead as he answered questions about the crash.

Highway 115 is currently blocked, heading north from Holtville, he said.

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