updated 4/24/2008 3:05:19 PM ET 2008-04-24T19:05:19

A tractor-trailer collided with a van carrying residents from a group home for the mentally disabled Thursday, flipping the vehicle onto its side and crushing it against a building. Five people were killed and seven injured.

Witnesses told investigators the van stopped at an intersection and then pulled right in front of the tractor-trailer, Washington County Coroner Tim Warco said.

The crash happened about 10 a.m. in Somerset Township, about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Warco said that, by mid-afternoon, two bodies had been removed from the van, and emergency crews were working to remove three more.

Seven people were taken to hospitals; several were reported in stable condition and Warco said the tractor-trailer driver was treated and released. The conditions of others was not available.

The van was believed to be carrying residents of a group home in Bentleyville. A man who answered the phone at the Mental Health Association of Washington County in Bentleyville said they were "going through a crisis situation and can't take this call."

The tractor-trailer was owned by Stocker Trucking Co. in Gnadenhutten, Ohio. A man who answered the phone at the company said, "At the moment we're still investigating this and I have no comment."

The van was pinned against a storage building owned by C.R. Augenstein Inc., a home gas and oil delivery business. Chuck Augenstein, the company's retired owner, was called to the scene by neighbors who heard the crash.

"There's an accident here at least twice a month," he said, adding that none had been fatal before Thursday.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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