Some Patients From Deadly Imperial County Crash Treated in San Diego
Four victims of an Imperial County traffic accident that killed at least 13 people and injured more than a dozen others Tuesday were airlifted to San Diego County for emergency care, authorities reported.
"The patients are being cared for in the (UC San Diego Medical Center) trauma center located in Hillcrest," said Jacqueline Carr, executive director of communications for UC San Diego Health. "Due to privacy protections, patient conditions will not be given unless authorized by the patients."
The collision occurred at about 6:15 a.m., when a tractor-trailer struck an SUV carrying an estimated 25 people on state Route 115, just north of Holtville and about 15 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the California Highway Patrol.
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A dozen people died at the scene of the wreck, and another victim was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital, CHP Border Division Chief Omar Watson told reporters.
"Some people were ejected onto the pavement, onto the ground, (and) passed away as a result of those injuries," Watson said during a news conference. "Other people were found deceased within the vehicle, and some of the wounded were able to pull themselves out of the vehicle."
The collision occurred when the passenger-packed Ford Expedition pulled onto the highway into the path of the tractor-trailer under circumstances that remain under investigation, the chief said. The semi was being driven by a 69-year-old man who suffered injuries described as moderate.
The youngest occupant of the SUV was 16 years old, while the oldest were in their 50s, according to the CHP.
Specifics on the seating configuration of the group were unclear, Watson said. Authorities have not commented on where the contingent had departed from, or where it was headed.
Six patients were being treated at El Centro Regional Medical Center, said Judy Cruz, emergency-department director for the hospital. Another three were taken to another local treatment center, she said.
Four other patients were airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where three were admitted to an intensive-care unit, hospital spokesman Todd Burke said.
The affected stretch of SR-115 was expected to remain closed to through traffic for "quite a few hours" to allow for investigation and cleanup, the CHP chief said.