7 Children Among 9 Killed in a Head-On Car Collision on New Year's Day in California

Claudia Harmata
·1 min read

Getty Images Crime scene

Nine people were killed in a head-on car collision in Fresno County, California, on Friday.

Seven children, between the ages of 6 and 15 years old, were among those killed, as well as both drivers, according to the New York Times and Associated Press.

Authorities said the fiery crash occurred when a 2013 Dodge Journey, driven by 28-year-old Daniel Luna, collided with a 2007 Ford F-150 pickup truck, driven by an unidentified woman who was in the same vehicle with the seven children, who were all members of two related families.

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The California Highway Patrol said that Luna was traveling southbound on the highway in his Dodge SUV when he veered onto the dirt shoulder. Luna then overcorrected when returning onto the highway and swerved over the centerline where he struck the Ford head-on.

Officials said the pickup truck became "fully engulfed in flames," and all nine occupants were killed, including Luna.

"It's tragic for the community," Capt. Kevin Clays of the California Highway Patrol said at a news conference, according to the Times. "It’s tragic for our officers that respond to these incidents."

Authorities are investigating the crash with the Fresno County Coroner’s Office to determine whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the deadly incident.

Officials also noted that the woman's Ford F-150 only had six available seatbelts. Clays said chances of severe injury or death are "far greater" when traveling in a car without a seatbelt on.