A 27 year old woman and her two kids were killed after a major collision early Wednesday morning in Hollywood.

The crash was reported just before 7:30 a.m. at the intersection of Highland and Willoughby avenues, where a large, silver Infiniti SUV suddenly veered into oncoming lanes and smashed into a Dodge Caravan minivan carrying Saida Juana Mendez-Bernardino and her two young kids.

“It sounded like an explosion at first,” said Steve Livingston, a witness to the crash. “I was an EMT in Arizona so I’ve seen accidents. This one, just judging by what I saw of the van, I knew there was going to be some very unfortunate news today for someone’s family.”

The SUV crashed directly into the side of the smaller van, sending it into a light pole, where it came to rest completely caved in and destroyed.

Responding officers from the Los Angeles Police Department reported that 4 year old Stephanie Cruz was killed immediately upon impact. Mendez-Bernardino and her other daughter, 8 year old Hilda Cruz, were rushed to a nearby hospital, but where also pronounced dead a short time later.

The driver of the in Infiniti, said to be a man in his 40s, was also hospitalized, where he is currently listed in stable condition.

Police have also reported that Mendez-Bernardino was taking her kids to Melrose Elementary school at the time of the crash.

The accident forced the closure of the entire area for several hours to allow for police to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident, and to clear the mangled wreckage from the street. “At this time traffic investigators are investigating to see if speed was a factor,” said LAPD Officer Cleon Joseph.

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