TRUXTON, N.Y. -- A minivan carrying two families was hit by a runaway trailer hauling crushed cars in upstate New York, killing four young children and three adults in their early 20s, authorities said Thursday.
Cortland County Coroner Whitney Meeker told The Associated Press that all seven victims, including four children under 10, were local residents. They were killed and a man was injured when their van was hit by a trailer that broke away from a truck on Route 13 around 6 p.m. Wednesday in the rural town of Truxton, about 25 miles south of Syracuse.
The children were from two different families, including one from Truxton, Meeker said. The other family lived nearby, he said.
The Cortland County Sheriff's Office hadn't released the victims' names as of Thursday morning. A dispatcher said the agency was to release more information later in the day.
Officials said the trailer disconnected from the rig and slammed into the van, ripping it apart. Both vehicles came to rest on the shoulder of the roadway.
The injured man was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. Information on his condition wasn't immediately available.
Sheriff's Capt. Mark Helms said two people in the truck were not injured. The cause of the accident was still being investigated.
The crash occurred along a stretch of the two-lane road in Truxton, a town of 1,100 located a few miles northeast of the city of Cortland. Route 13 remained closed until 1:20 a.m. Thursday as police investigated the crash and crews removed wreckage from the scene.
The National Weather Service in Binghamton said there were thunderstorms and steady showers -- including hail -- in the area around Truxton Wednesday evening.
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."