A sport utility vehicle carrying four teenagers crossed the center line on the Arborway in Jamaica Plain Friday afternoon and flipped over, striking a pickup truck occupied by two men in a devastating crash that left at least two people with life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
All six people involved in the crash, which occurred at about 2 p.m., were taken to area hospitals, State Police said in a statement. The accident occurred on the busy thoroughfare near Saint Joseph Street.
State Police said authorities were investigating what caused the SUV with the teens inside to cross the center line.
Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said in a statement that the teenagers ranged in age from 14 to 17, and they were taken to city hospitals “with injuries ranging from relatively minor to life-threatening.”
He said the two men in the truck were taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “one of them with life-threatening injuries and the other expected to survive.”
Officials did not identify any of the victims.
Wark said it was too early to determine whether speed, texting, or drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash that drew onlookers to the scene and created a traffic nightmare in the congested area.
“No charges have been sought at this time and we do not expect them imminently,” he said. “This is a major collision with many victims and witnesses, and investigators will need time to examine the evidence from many sources before making a charging decision.”
Both badly damaged vehicles—a 2003 Mazda Tribute and a 2004 Ford pickup— were visible on the side of the Arborway at 5 p.m, along with a large amount of debris. Investigators were photographing the scene, and two flatbed trucks were on hand to take the vehicles away.
Among the onlookers was Meeta Patel, 34, who lives across the street from the crash site.
“It’s horrific,” said Patel, who was not home at the time. “People here drive very fast.”
Patty Lieber, 59, who lives nearby, echoed that sentiment and urged motorists to be more cautious.
“You just can’t imagine looking at something like that,” she said, adding that drivers treat the Arborway like a “speedway.”
“It’s a road, not a racetrack,” Lieber said. She added, “My heart goes out to whoever were in the vehicles.”
The Arborway was shut down into the evening between the Shea Rotary and Centre Street. It reopened at 8:50 p.m., State Police said.
As a result of the accident, traffic was also heavy on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain and Roslindale; Hyde Park Avenue in Roslindale; and South and Centre streets in Jamaica Plain; and the Casey Overpass was closed in both directions, Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office said.
The gridlock affected many drivers.
Ramon Nunez, 49, of Roslindale, said he was stuck in traffic for a half-hour about a mile from the crash site and finally parked his car and started walking.
He said at the accident scene at about 5:30 p.m. that he would probably walk back for his car, though he had considered walking home.
Lilly Anderson, 15, a student at Boston Latin School, said at the crash site that she and the teenaged victims have mutual friends.
“We don’t know them that well, but they’re still people, and it could have been anyone,” Anderson said, adding that the wreckage of twisted metal and broken glass was disturbing.
“It makes me scared, just really scared to see it,” she said.