Three brothers were killed and several other of their siblings injured in this Monday morning crash near 59th Avenue and Southern Avenue. (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
The first day of school turned tragic for one Valley family when three young siblings were killed and several others were badly injured in a head-on collision in southwest Phoenix on Monday morning.
Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said a 16-year-old boy was driving a van carrying six of his siblings when he lost control and struck a sedan on Southern Avenue near 59th Avenue.
Crump said the teen was taking some of the children to their respective schools. According to information given by Phoenix police and Tolleson-Union School District, the driver and a 14-year-old brother were about to start their first year at La Joya Community High School.
Police say the driver was unlicensed and had applied for a learner's permit. They also the driver may have been impaired and have a search warrant for a blood test.
Three boys, ages 5, 8 and 11, died as a result of this crash.
Crump said a 4-year-old girl remains in critical condition. Two of the other children, ages 12 and 14, are expected to be OK. The driver of the sedan was taken to Valley Hospital in extremely critical condition.
Witnesses told police the westbound van appeared to have been speeding when the driver lost control. The van rolled after colliding with the sedan, ejecting three of the children, Crump said.
Due to the severity of the crash and multiple apparent road violations, including driving without a license, investigators are looking into the possibility of criminal charges.
Police said a child safety seat was not properly installed, and it appeared none of the children were wearing seat belts. According to officers, several children were ejected.
He said at least one of the siblings was found in a field off the road near Cottonfields Golf Course.
The crash happened about 7:20 a.m. Crump said 59th Avenue was closed in both directions, and Southern was closed from 59th to 67th avenues.
A memorial now marks the site of the crash. Neighbors dropped off balloons, candles and stuffed animals to pay their respects Monday night.
"To hear they were all under the age of 16, I don't know what to think," said neighbor Rachelle Lopez.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.