A fiery collision in Highland left four people dead in one car and the driver of a second vehicle in critical condition, police said Tuesday.
The two-car crash, involving a gold Ford Taurus and a silver Acura TL, occurred just before 2:25 p.m. Monday in the area of Palm Avenue and Cypress Street, according to a Highland Police Department news release.
When Highland deputies responded to the crash site, they found the Taurus had burst into flames after rolling over during impact, the release stated.
Three occupants from the Ford were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth occupant who had been transported to a local hospital for burn treatment died several hours after the crash, according to police.
The driver of the Acura was hospitalized in critical condition.
A female relative of the victims identified the deceased as an 83-year-old grandfather, a 16- or 17-year-old cousin and two children, ages 8 and 7. The Taurus was the grandfather's car.
The kids had just been picked up from school when the crash occurred, according to family member Nasaria Becerra.
“I guess they were turning to go home -- because they had just came out of school -- and an Acura was coming, and they thought, I guess they thought the Acura was going to stop. He didn’t, ended up hitting them and from what we were told, the car instantly went up in flames," she said.
Her cousin who was driving the vehicle was the only one who managed to get out of the burning car, according to Becerra.
"He was burned 90 percent and didn’t make it. Everybody else couldn’t get out," she said.
Becerra spoke at the crash site later that night, where relatives and others gathered around a makeshift memorial of candles to mourn the victims.
“We lost four family members and now we have to figure out how to do a funeral," she said.
The victims were identified as 83-year-old Juan Perez, 17-year-old Nicolas Luna, 8-year-old Vanessa Hermosillo and 7-year-old Aiden Hermosillo, according to one of two GoFundMe pages set up to help pay for the funerals.
As of Tuesday morning, the San Bernardino County coroner's office had yet to officially release the names and ages of the victims.
The fatal crash is being investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department's Major Accident Investigation Team.
No additional information was immediately released.