9 people, including 7 in US illegally, die in Arizona crash

PHOENIX (AP) — Nine people, including seven who were in the U.S. illegally, were killed in a head-on collision on an Arizona highway, authorities said today.

The crash occurred late Wednesday when a vehicle struck an SUV carrying nine people on State Route 79 near Florence, about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.

The agency has declined to say whether the SUV was being used as part of a smuggling operation or may have been connected to a government immigration facility near Florence.

Investigators don't know the cause of the crash.

Officials say the SUV's driver and front-seat passenger were U.S. citizens, but seven others in the vehicle were immigrants in the country illegally

The driver, front-seat passenger and five others in the SUV were killed. Two others were taken to hospitals.

The driver and front-seat passenger in the other vehicle also were killed.