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Head-on collision in southeastern Arizona kills 4

May 31, 2013

DOUGLAS, Ariz. (AP) — A fiery head-on collision between a van carrying farm workers and a pickup truck on a highway in southeastern Arizona early Thursday left four people dead and four others injured, authorities said.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the van and truck collided about 4:30 a.m. when the pickup crossed the center line on U.S. 191, 3 miles north of Douglas, and burst into flames.

DPS Officer Carrick Cook says the dead included three Douglas residents, who were among seven people riding in the van to work at a dairy farm in Willcox, and the pickup’s driver, Dena Casella, 49, of Douglas.

Casella was pronounced dead at the scene and was the only person in the truck, according to the DPS.

The others declared dead at the scene were Benito Gastelo, 50; Elizabeth Cajigas, 56; and Ramona Medrano, 54.

DPS officials say Cajigas was driving the van.

Two men and two women were flown to Tucson hospitals with injuries described as serious but not life threatening, authorities said.

The crash closed the highway for four hours.

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