A two-vehicle collision in southwest Phoenix has resulted in the death of three children, all in the same family. Their 16-year-old brother was allegedly driving on a learner's permit.
Ambulances rushed to the scene of a crash near 59th Avenue and Southern Monday around 7:00 a.m. after the head-on collision of a car and a minivan.
The teenage driver of the van was heading westbound and tried to pass a car when he lost control and slammed into another vehicle head-on.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump says several children were ejected from the van.
"When our officers arrived here and firefighters arrived they were literally finding bodies.. one of the bodies was up in the field here behind them that had been ejected from the vehicle.. so it doesn't appear as though restraining devices were going to be used either."
As of Monday afternoon, three male children, brothers ages 5, 8, and 11, have died as a result of the crash. The surviving occupants of the vehicle, aside from the driver, are 4, 12, and 14. They were also hospitalized, and the 4-year-old girl remains in critical condition.
A 16-year-old boy was driving the minivan. Police say he did not have a valid driver's license. He is expected to survive.
"Our detectives are suspecting that there is some sort of impairment with the 16-year-old and we did obtain a search warrant for blood to try to make that determination," said Sgt. Crump.
The driver of the opposite vehicle, a 40-year-old man, is in extremely critical condition.
Police believe the teenager and his siblings were heading to school. They are trying to locate their parents to see if he was allowed to drive the van on his own or if he took it without permission. It doesn't appear that anyone in the van had been wearing a seatbelt.
"We still have individuals who are clinging to life and so we are going to let this finish out. We are going to let our investigators finish. We will look at all the actions and we will work with the county attorney on whether charging is appropriate," added Crump.
No names have been released in this case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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