Four children and two women were killed and two men seriously injured when a tractor trailer rear-ended a minivan early Tuesday morning on Interstate 5 in Gorman, Calif.
The crash is still in the early stages of investigation, but the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported that the van was on the shoulder of the 5 freeway’s southbound lanes when it the truck hit it just before 3:30 a.m.
The CHP said the van had stopped after a prior minor collision with a sedan and may have been partially blocking the lane. The impact of the crash sent the van rolling down an embankment. Flames consumed the vehicle with the women and children inside.
The identities of the victims have not yet been released but the CHP told the Los Angeles Times that they were two mothers and their children. All of them were inside the van when it was hit. It is unclear whether the two men, the husbands of the two women, were in the van when it was struck.
“When we arrived on scene, we saw the van starting to catch fire. We saw the husbands come running up to us, told us their families were in the vehicle still,” CHP Officer Dan Williams told ABC 7 Los Angeles. “My partner went and tried to get in through the van door. The flames came at him, he had to back out. I grabbed the fire extinguisher… but we were unable to assist in getting anyone out of the van.”
Both men were seriously injured and airlifted to the hospital for treatment.
“Words can’t describe what that was like when we arrived on scene,” Officer Williams told ABC 7. “It was very horrific seeing them trying to get their families out, us trying to help get their families out. Like I said, the van went up in flames very, very quickly.”