The National Transportation Safety Board is joining the investigation of a head-on crash that killed seven children and two adults on New Year’s Day near Coalinga.
The NTSB said Tuesday it will work with the California Highway Patrol in the investigation of the crash involving an SUV and a pickup truck on State Route 33, but its staff will not travel to the site.
The seven children and a woman were in a Ford F-150 that burst into flames when it was struck by a Dodge Journey SUV by a man, who was also killed. The accident occurred around 8 p.m., CHP officials said.
Evidence from the scene indicated that the Dodge being driven by a 28-year-old man was traveling southbound on the highway when it veered onto the dirt shoulder for an unknown reason, the CHP said. The driver then overcorrected and swerved into the southbound lane, where it struck the Ford driven by a woman, officials said.
Weather, Road Conditions Not Believed to Be Factors
The Ford burst into flames on the dirt shoulder, while the Dodge came to a stop straddling both lanes of the highway, the CHP said.
It was unknown if alcohol or drugs were a factor, pending toxicology results. Weather or other road conditions did not appear to be a factor, officials said.
The crash site was between the towns of Avenal and Coalinga about 50 miles outside of Fresno.