Traffic Crash on Moorpark's Highway in California 118 Leaves 7 Dead

MOORPARK, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities are investigating the cause of a deadly multiple-car pileup on a stretch of rural highway on the outskirts of this suburb that killed seven people, including five children. Two people were injured.

Monday's crash at an intersection of Highway 118 just north of the city limits was reported at 1:39 p.m., said Joe Luna, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.

''It's too early to tell all the factors that came together to cause this tragedy,'' Luna said.

Rescuers found three vehicles strewn about, one car overturned and people trapped inside.

Two adults and five children who were traveling in a small Toyota van were pronounced dead at the scene, fire officials said.

The dead included the 34-year-old male driver of the minivan and a 42-year-old woman, who had been riding in the front passenger seat, the fire department said. Also killed were boys ages 10, 9 and 1, a 2-year-old girl and a 3-month-old girl.

Authorities have not released the victims' identities.

A four-door Lincoln sedan and a full-size Ford van also were involved in the crash.

One victim was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital and was in critical condition and another was taken by ambulance to a hospital and was in moderate condition, Luna said.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating.

Moorpark is in Ventura County about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press