The four people killed in a horrific four-vehicle crash on U.S. 27 in Palm Beach County were identified Wednesday as a family from Miami-Dade County that survived a house fire six months ago.
Carolina Ortiz, 39, Luis Varona, 17, Alejandro Verona, 16, and Melissa Verona, 14, were killed when their 2008 Ford Focus smashed into an oncoming tractor-trailer as the car headed south on U.S. 27 Tuesday morning. A fifth passenger, who was not identified, was critically injured. The driver of the family’s Ford Focus was trying to avoid a tractor-trailer in the middle of the road that had detached from its truck.
The trailer detached from the southbound truck and came to rest in the middle of the roadway, according to FHP. Ortiz veered to the right to avoid the trailer, but hit the right rear of it with the left front of her car.
The driver of a third car, Douglas A. Brinker, 54, swerved to the left and hit the left rear of the trailer. He was not injured.
Another truck trying to avoid the trailer veered to the right and struck Ortiz’ car, pushing it off the roadway. The driver of the truck, Emad Said Daashoush, was taken to nearby Lakeside Hospital with minor injuries.
Fog may have been a factor in the 6 a.m. crash.
The family had been overcoming a house fire.
Their Kendall home has been boarded up since the September 2014 fire, CBS4 reported. Carolina Ortiz escaped the blaze with burns. Luis Varona rescued his mother and two siblings from the fire.