Authorities are attempting to locate the next of kin for seven children who were injured and orphaned when their parents were killed after the family's SUV crashed in Imperial County last Friday, according to KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.
The family left their home in Lakeside Friday morning with all their belongings in tow, headed to a new life in Texas, Welman Simmons, the manager of their apartment building, told the station.
They were traveling in a red 1999 Ford Expedition pulling a heavily loaded U-Haul trailer that Simmons believes was ill-equipped for the trip.
“They had two bald tires and the trailer was too low in the front,” he said.
At around 10:30 a.m., the SUV veered off of eastbound Interstate 8 near Plaster City, the California Highway Patrol said. The father had apparently tried to regain control, but the vehicle overturned in the center median.
No one in the car was wearing a seatbelt, according to the CHP report.
The 41-year-old father and the 31-year-old mother were both killed on impact, and all seven children were ejected from the SUV, officials said.
The children, who range from 1 to 12 years in age, suffered minor to critical injuries. All seven were expected to survive, though some would have a lengthy recovery, authorities said.
Three of them were taken to El Centro Regional Medical Center, one to Riverside University Hospital, one to Loma Linda and two to Rady Children's Hospital.
Simmons, manager of the Silver Crest Apartments, said investigators from Child Protective Services had come to the family's home to interview them three days before they left for Texas. However, they left after no one answered the door.
The children were expected to be housed at the Polinsky Children's Center upon their release from treatment until family members are found.
KTLA's Erika Martin contributed to this report.