4 Killed in Head-On Crash Involving Big Rig Near Desert Center: CHP

A California Highway Patrol cruiser waits to lead motorist on as construction workers remove barricades on the southbound Interstate 405 freeway before it re-opened following a 10-mile shutdown of the freeway for bridge work on July 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Four people were killed Monday in a head-on collision between a passenger car and a big rig about 19 miles north of Desert Center in Riverside County, authorities said.

Three people died at the scene and a fourth was pronounced dead at the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where he was airlifted after being extricated from the car, said a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol’s Indio office.

She said the accident, which occurred on the two-lane Highway 177 just east of Joshua Tree National Park, was reported at 3:11 p.m. Six CHP officers were deployed to the scene along with 11 firefighters from the Riverside County Fire Department and Cal Fire/Riverside.

Further information on the identities of the victims or circumstances of the accident was not available, she said. She added that the big rig spilled some kind of hazardous material, but no details were available on whether it was diesel fuel or another substance.

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