A church van carrying adults and children through a suburb of the nation's capital Sunday collided with a pickup truck that crossed its path, and the pickup truck burst into flames in an accident that claimed four lives and left 14 others badly injured, authorities say. A child was among the dead, and authorities say the injuries ranged from serious to critical in the Maryland community of Hyattsville, just northeast of Washington, DC. Witnesses say people ran with fire extinguishers from their homes but could do little to put out tall flames that rose above the pickup truck before firefighters arrived and put out the blaze. Authorities say the fire was kept to the pickup truck, whose driver died along with two adults and a child in the van.
Fire department spokesman Mark Brady in Maryland's Prince George's County says the crash scene was one of the worst in his 40-year career. He says the adults in the van were mostly in their 20s and 30s, while the children ranged from 4 to 10 years old. He says the 14 injured—six children and eight adults—had to be sent to several hospitals in the region, and eight of those were in critical condition, including four children. Authorities have not yet released the names or the identity of the church group and drivers involved because relatives were still being notified as of Sunday night. Brady says firefighters were among those debriefed by counselors afterward because of the magnitude of the crash—"so many people, so many injuries and fatalities."