Multi Car Crash Sends Six to Hospital

Six teenagers were critically injured on a Mesa highway on April 24, when a van plowed into their parked car, triggering a chain reaction of crashes. Rescue workers from three communities were summoned to the scene to free the passengers, who had been trapped inside their smashed automobile.

The ordeal began with a simple fender bender involving two cars on highway US 60, in the eastbound lane at Gilbert Road. Both drivers parked on the side of the highway to confer about the incident, authorities said. A third car occupied by the teenagers soon arrived at the scene, and its driver apparently offered to help the other two motorists.

Conflicting reports say the teenagers’ car either stalled or simply parked in the emergency lane behind one of the others. Police said it was then struck in the rear by a fourth vehicle, the van. The impact set off a chain reaction, forcing the teenagers’ car to crash into the car parked in front of it. Photographs taken at the scene show their car sandwiched between the van and a maroon vehicle.

Shortly after 3 p.m., rescue workers began to remove the passengers from the crumpled vehicle, whose rear end and trunk had been demolished. Paramedics worked to stabilize three of the crash victims in a triage area on a large, red tarp that firefighters laid on a section of the blocked-off highway.

Six individuals, whose ages range between 17 and 19, were severely injured and required emergency medical attention at a local hospital. Their injuries were not specified, but all six remain in critical condition. Officer Carrick Cook of the Arizona Department of Public Safety confirmed that at least two of the victims had been airlifted by helicopter to a nearby hospital. Police did not say whether the driver of the van had been injured.

While rescue workers responded to the injured and cleared the wreckage, rush hour traffic on US 60 slowed to a near standstill. Eastbound lanes had to be partially closed for hours. The accident is being investigated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.