TUBA CITY, AZ - Arizona authorities are trying to identify two people killed in a head-on collision in which three members of an Illinois family also died.
Two people in a pickup truck with an Arizona license plate were burned beyond recognition when it rolled and caught fire after the collision Friday night on U.S. 160 about 25 miles northeast of Tuba City, state Department of Public Safety spokesman Raul Garcia said.
A Vernon Hills, Ill., couple and their two children were in the other vehicle, a van, Garcia said from Phoenix.
He identified those killed in the van as Tomohiro Hirayama, 50, Sachiyo Hirayama, 42, and a 16-year-old son whose name was not released. A 9-year-old daughter, whose name also wasn't released, was critically injured, Garcia said.
The pickup crossed the center line while being pursued by Navajo Police Department officers after 911 callers said it was being driven erratically in Tuba City, according to Garcia.
"It refused to stop," Garcia said of the pickup truck.
Navajo DPS Capt. Harry Sombrero said Navajo police were in pursuit of the suspect vehicle for about 20 miles before the crash occurred.
At the time of the crash, Garcia said the closest Navajo police unit pursuing the pickup was more than a mile back because of safety considerations and highway traffic that widened the gap.
By the time officers got to the scene, the pickup was fully engulfed in flames, said Sgt. Gary Phelps, another DPS spokesman.
Sombrero said Arizona DPS was in the process of reconstructing the accident scene.
"The chain of events and point of impact is still being determined," Sombrero said. "This will at least be a two-week investigation."