(HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla.) — Six people are dead after a freight train slammed into an SUV carrying seven at a crossing in Hillsborough County, Florida, on Saturday evening, law enforcement officials said.
The dead, which included three adults and three children, were members of a family and a friend of the family’s children, officials said.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister described a horrific scene, comparing the SUV to a crushed can in the aftermath of the crash.
“This tragic loss is immense, and the members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and I are praying for peace and comfort for all those impacted,” he said in a statement.
Jose G. Hernandez, 52, was driving a white Cadillac Escalade southbound toward a train crossing at about 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, officials said.
“For unknown and undetermined reasons, the driver slowly crossed the tracks directly in the train’s path,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Sunday. “Five rear passengers were ejected from the Escalade as it rotated and rolled to final rest.”
The SUV “flipped violently several times” and landed “a distance” from the initial impact at the crossing, Chronister said, citing a video of the collision.
The jaws of life were used to rescue Hernandez and a front passenger, who were both transported to Lakeland Regional Hospital, where they were both listed in critical condition, the sheriff’s office said. Hernandez later died at the hospital, officials said.
The other five passengers were violently ejected from the SUV and were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Officials said the dead included the driver’s wife, Enedelia Hernandez, 50.
Three of the couple’s children and one of the children’s friends were killed, law enforcement said. Their names were Anaelia Hernandez, 22; Alyssa Hernandez, 17; Julian Hernandez, 9; and Jakub A. Lopez, 17, officials said.
The name and age of the passenger who was transported to the hospital were not released publicly.
The crash scene was near the intersection of U.S. Route 92 and Jim Lefler Circle. Chronister said the victims were believed to have been en route to a quinceañera at a home just across the railroad crossing.
Members of the sheriff’s Victim Specialist Unit had been asked to provide resources for those close to the Hernandez family, the sheriff’s office said.
“Those impacted by this devastating loss were met with compassion and the highest level of professionalism while trying to navigate the unspeakable,” Chronister said.
ABC News’ Mariama Jalloh contributed to this story.
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