TRUXTON, N.Y. - Seven people were killed when a tractor-trailer collided with a minivan on a rural two-lane highway in upstate New York, police said Wednesday.
The rig was headed south around 6 p.m. on Route 13 about 25 miles south of Syracuse when the trailer became disconnected and crossed the center line, hitting a minivan carrying eight people, according to Capt. Mark Helms of the Cortland County Sheriff's Department.
The force of the impact ripped the minivan apart, and both vehicles came to rest on the shoulder of the roadway.
"It was a bad accident," Helms said.
Officials have not released the identities of those killed, but all of them were passengers in the minivan. Two people in the truck were not injured, Helms said.
Officials did not say what caused the accident.
The National Weather Service in Binghamton said there were thunderstorms and steady showers - including hail - in the area around Truxton Wednesday evening.
Cortland County Coroner Whitney Meeker confirmed seven people died in the crash. She said there was one survivor who was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. The status of that survivor was not immediately known.
Meeker said it will probably take the next two days to complete autopsies. She said next of kin would be notified early Thursday at the Cortland County Sheriff's office.
Douglas Randall, the fire commissioner for nearby Town of Cuyler, said he was directing traffic about a mile north of the crash site when he saw what he believed to be hysterical family members being escorted away from the scene.
"They were all meeting down the road at a family member's house," he said. "They were all hysterical."