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Eight killed in head-on crash in Arizona, DPS says

Posted: 10:42 AM, Sep 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-21 16:22:35Z
DPS: Eight killed in head-on crash in Arizona
DPS: Eight killed in head-on crash in Arizona
DPS: Eight killed in head-on crash in Arizona

FLORENCE, Ariz. — Eight people were killed in a head-on crash near Florence on Wednesday night. 

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, two vehicles were involved in the two-car crash around 10 p.m. local time Wednesday along SR-79, south of Florence.

A Chevy Suburban with nine people inside was reportedly headed northbound when it was struck by a Buick passenger car headed southbound. Officials don't yet know what caused the Buick to cross the center line. 

The driver, front passenger, and four other passengers in the Suburban were killed. Three other passengers have serious to life-threatening injuries and are hospitalized.

The driver and front passenger of the Buick were also killed in the crash. 

The driver and front-seat passenger of the Suburban were U.S. citizens, however, the other seven occupants are undocumented immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security is working to identify and notify next-of-kin. 

"You know, at first glance, it appears that it could be, but that’s not something for us to determine. We’re not the agency to determine if it was a smuggling attempt. We’re focused on the facts of the actual collision and what happened,"  Trooper Kameron Lee, a public information officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said.

Both directions of SR-79 were shut down for several hours after the crash and reopened around 4 a.m. Thursday.

The investigation is ongoing. 

Editor's note: The Arizona Department of Public Safety originally reported nine deaths were involved in this crash, but have since updated their count to eight deaths and three individuals injured.