updated 6/20/2005 3:32:36 AM ET 2005-06-20T07:32:36

A van carrying 20 people skidded and overturned on a Missouri highway Sunday, killing five passengers and injuring 15, police said.

The van was traveling east on Interstate 70 when it drifted onto the shoulder of the highway west of Columbia. The driver apparently overcorrected, causing the van to skid into the median, where it overturned several times.

Killed in the crash were three men and one woman. The gender of the fifth victim was not immediately available.

Authorities identified only one of the five fatalities: Julio Lopez-Luna, whose age and hometown were unknown.

Seventeen of the van’s occupants were thrown from the vehicle.

Two occupants were in critical condition at a Columbia hospital. At least eight others were also hospitalized in varying conditions, and one person’s condition was not immediately known.

It was unclear whether the other four occupants had been hospitalized or what sort of injuries they suffered.

Several occupants were Central American nationals, including four from Guatemala, three from Honduras and one from El Salvador. They did not speak English, so hospital officials used interpreters to communicate.

Many of the injured were not carrying identification. All of the identified passengers were in their teens and 20s.

None of the van’s occupants had been wearing seat belts, police said.

Police did not know where the passengers were headed in the van, which had California license plates.

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