At Least 15 Killed in Crash in Southern California, Officials Say

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At least 15 people were killed on Tuesday morning in an accident in Southern California involving a tractor-trailer and an S.U.V. carrying more than two dozen people, the authorities and hospital officials said.

The crash took place before 7 a.m. local time on State Route 115 in the area of El Centro, Calif., a city about 60 miles west of the Arizona border and near the border with Mexico, the authorities said.

Dr. Adolphe Edward, the chief executive of the El Centro Regional Medical Center, said that 14 people were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, and another victim died at the hospital. An additional six victims were being treated at the hospital in El Centro, the largest city in the area.

Judy Cruz, the managing director of the emergency department at the El Centro Regional Medical Center, said at a news conference that two victims were taken to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, Calif.

“We believe there was 27 passengers in this S.U.V. that struck a semi truck full of gravel,” Ms. Cruz said.

Jake Sanchez, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said that the truck driver had minor injuries in the crash. He described the S.U.V. as a Ford vehicle whose maximum legal capacity was seven to eight people.

Dr. Edward said in an interview that he believed that the victims were undocumented migrants. “This is a major accident with major trauma,” he said.

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