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2 children among 4 dead in Calif. highway crash

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two children were among four people killed when a car collided with a minivan on a rural Northern California highway, authorities said.

Five other people were hurt when a Toyota Prius crossed the center line on Highway 50 near Placerville on Saturday night and struck a Toyota Sienna minivan ‘‘broadside,’’ according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer John Frizzell.

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Three people in the Prius — a 39-year-old man driving the car, a woman, and a child — were killed in the crash, Frizzell said. Another child in the car suffered moderate injuries. Three of the dead lived in the San Francisco Bay area.

Of the five people in the minivan, a 4-year-old girl was killed, Frizzell said. The four others — the 35-year-old female driver, a 51-year-old man, and two 1-year-olds — suffered minor to moderate injuries. No names were released.

‘‘We don’t know what caused the Prius to cross into oncoming traffic,’’ Frizzell said Sunday. ‘‘There’s an infinite number of possibilities.’’

Investigators have pulled computers from both vehicles that would indicate how fast they were going at the time of the crash, but collecting that information would probably take days, Frizzell said.

The highway where the crash occurred is outside of Placerville, about 45 miles east of Sacramento. The highway has two lanes, with minor to moderate curves, and a speed limit of 65 miles per hour.

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