DENVER -- Three people were killed and four seriously injured Friday morning when a car careened off a major highway after it struck a bear.
Seven people were in the Chevrolet SUV that slid across the center median, crossing over lanes of traffic before it flew off the highway about 3:30 a.m. near Rifle, Colorado, the Colorado State Patrol said.
The people who were killed Friday morning after they were ejected from a car include Kimberly Hernandez, 7, and Eugenio Hernandez Altamirano, 63, who died at the scene, authorities told KDVR TV. Brizeyda Hernandez, 15, was taken to Grand River Hospital in nearby Rifle, Colorado and then flown to Children's Hospital in Denver, where she died, KDVR reported.
The Colorado State Patrol says four other people in the car suffered serious injuries. They are a 9-year-old boy from New Castle, Colorado; a 62-year-old woman from Carbondale, Colorado; the 36-year-old male driver from New Castle; and a 32-year-old female passenger.
None of the seven people in the car are believed to have been wearing seat belts or sitting in a child safety seat at the time of the crash, the State Patrol said.
The bear was killed in the crash and taken by the Department of Wildlife, the State Patrol said.
Drugs, alcohol, and the speed of the vehicle were not considered factors in the crash, the State Patrol said. The case is under investigation.