LODI, Calif. (AP) — Investigators are looking into reports that the driver of an SUV involved in a horrific accident that killed five people was speeding and on his cellphone moments earlier, authorities said.
All of the dead — a pregnant woman, a man and three children — were in the same extended-cab pickup that was struck in a busy intersection during rush hour Tuesday afternoon.
The SUV driver was among six people hospitalized in the five-car crash. The driver's name has not been released.
With the investigation ongoing, police Lt. Sierra Bruscia had few details to share about the wreck. He did not know whether the victims wore seat belts.
"It's definitely a very traumatic incident," Bruscia said.
Police are considering the crash a criminal investigation, Bruscia said.
The family hailed from the city of Cocula in Guerrero, Mexico, said Mariana Carine Tyler of the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento. She identified the dead as Luis Miranda, 30; Viviana Rodriguez, 31, and her unborn child; Irving Miranda, 11; Jose Miranda, 7; and Stephanie Miranda, 5. A 9-year-old boy was in critical condition.
Tyler did not know how long the family had been in the United States or whether the children were born here and therefore U.S. citizens.
All of the children attended Lodi schools.
Shortly after the accident, Erin Andrews told KCRA-TV she was in traffic near the scene of the crash when she spotted the SUV swerving around cars at high speeds.
Another witness, Westley Ruyle, told the station the driver almost hit a few vehicles before the crash. He said he called 911 after seeing a "huge dust cloud."
"I approach and see this big old pile of mess, children laying out in the street, on the curb and bodies everywhere and vehicles totally messed up," he said.
Lodi, a city of more than 60,000 people, is about 35 miles south of Sacramento.
Information from: Lodi News-Sentinel, http://www.lodinews.com