updated 9/21/2004 9:11:58 AM ET 2004-09-21T13:11:58

A tractor-trailer rig veered across a median into oncoming traffic, killing five people in a pickup truck and five family members in a sports utility vehicle.

The crash occurred during afternoon rush hour Monday on U.S. 75 just south of Sherman.

The SUV, burned beyond recognition, was carrying three children and their mother and grandmother, said Sherman fire Capt. Doug Blackburn said. The children were 8, 3 and six weeks.

Seven people were in the pickup truck, including some who were riding in its bed, Blackburn said. Two adults were hurt, authorities said. No conditions were available for the survivors.

The tractor-trailer’s driver was also injured. Authorities did not immediately know what company owned the rig or what caused the driver to cross the median. Blackburn said the trailer appeared to be empty. There were no signs on the side of the trailer.

Identification problems
The SUV was crushed and its license plate and vehicle identification number were destroyed in the fire. Authorities were unable to identify its occupants until a man, who lives in McKinney, came to the scene saying his family hadn’t returned home that evening, the Sherman-Denison Herald Democrat reported in its Tuesday editions.

“The tractor-trailer rig and the SUV caught fire. It’s really hard to tell one from the other,” Sherman police Capt. Otis Henry said.

Because of the condition of the SUV, police were not releasing the family members’ names until positive identifications are made.

Well into Monday evening, emergency officials continued to search for remains after setting up lights to illuminate the wreckage, which was strewn across both of the southbound lanes.

While the tractor-trailer rig and remnants of the SUV rested on the grassy shoulder of the roadway, the pickup truck with its cab crushed and partially draped with tarps rested askew a short distance away.

The pileup, which occurred about 60 miles north of Dallas, closed down a section of the highway’s southbound lanes. The highway was reopened early Tuesday, according to a Sherman police dispatcher.

Two of the injured were taken to Parkland Hospital in Dallas and one to a hospital in Sherman.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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