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5 killed in head-on collision on Central California highway

A pregnant woman, her three children and mother-in-law were killed when the pickup they were riding in collided head-on with a big rig on on a Central California highway, authorities said Wednesday.

The crash occurred after 9 p.m. Tuesday when the pickup crossed over from northbound lanes to the southbound side of Interstate 5 near Firebaugh, California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Shasta Tollefson said.

The truck burst into flames and the big rig, carrying cardboard, also caught fire, causing damage to the road, the Fresno Bee reported.

The victims were a 31-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant; her children, who were 1, 8 and 10 years old; and her 52-year-old mother-in-law, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Coroners office said. Their names were not released, but the office said the victims appear to be from Northern California.

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A portion of the southbound lanes was closed for hours and traffic was rerouted on a 33-mile detour as the CHP investigated the accident and the California Department of Transportation evaluated the condition of the road.

Drivers within the crash investigation scene were unable to leave for several hours, the CHP said.


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