THORNTON, Colo. (AP) - An SUV careening through rush-hour traffic slammed into a car and went airborne, landing on top of a pickup truck and killing five people in suburban Denver, authorities said.
Police in Thornton said four people were also injured in the three-vehicle crash shortly before 6 p.m. MST Thursday.
"All five occupants (of the pickup) were pronounced dead at the scene," police spokesman Matt Barnes said.
The crash occurred as a Ford Expedition headed south on a major thoroughfare north of Denver, Barnes said in a statement.
He said witnesses told police that the SUV was being driven erratically and crossed into the northbound lanes. The vehicle then traveled into an intersection where it hit the rear end of a Mazda sedan, struck the median and then hurtled through the air, landing on top of the pickup, Barnes said.
An instant later the Ford smashed into a mattress store, slightly injuring one person inside from flying glass and causing extensive damage to the building.
A woman and two juveniles in the SUV and a man who was alone in the Masda were hospitalized. Barnes said he didn't have any details on their conditions.
KUSA-TV reported that investigators initially believed four people died, but found a fifth body in the truck a few hours after the accident.
"I won't ever forget that sound," Chrissy Pena told The Denver Post, describing the noise of the crash, shattering glass and crunching metal.
I'm still shaking," she said as she and dozens of others stood some 200 feet away from the wreckage.
Barnes said investigators are trying to determine what set off the crash. Names of the dead and injured were not immediately released.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)