The driver of the car believed to have caused the crash got away unscathed, officials said.
CHP officer Deeann Goudie, the first emergency responder on the scene, called the crash "one of the most traumatic I've seen" in 23 years with the CHP.Five people were killed Saturday in a head-on crash involving seven motorcycles and two passenger cars on a rural road the California Highway Patrol said.
Description of the accident:
A group of 12 motorcycles were eastbound on lightly traveled, two-lane Highway 98, which runs parallel with the U.S.-Mexico border and has a 65 mph speed limit.
The Civic driver came up behind the motorcyclists and made an unsafe pass. The westbound driver of a white Dodge Avenger, facing the Honda, took evasive action and swerved right into the path of the oncoming motorcycles.
A female Avenger passenger died when a motorcyclist went right through the front passenger door of the car, Goudie said. The Avenger driver was among those airlifted to a hospital.
Location: Highway 98 near Ocotillo, 80 miles east of San Diego.
Injuries: Besides the fatalities, five people were injured, Goudie said. Four with serious injuries were airlifted out by two helicopters to trauma centers in San Diego, she said.
Fatalities: Imperial County fire Captain Peter Stanton told the San Diego Union-Tribune that two men and two women on motorcycles were the other fatalities.
Identities of the fatalities were not released pending notification of family, she said.
Cause: The crash apparently was caused by an impatient driver of a gold Honda Civic, Goudie said.
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