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Language hampers crash probe in Columbia

By KBIA/AP/KWMU

Columbia, MO – State troopers are being slowed by a language barrier and a lack of identification in the investigation of a van crash Sunday near Columbia.

Five of the 20 people who had been crammed into the van died when it overturned on I-70.

Highway Patrol Lieutenant Dwight Heseman says the investigation now also includes immigration officials because foreign nationals are among the dead. Many of the van's passengers were from Central America, but their names are not known because they're not talking to police.

Immigration officials also want to know whether they were illegal immigrants being smuggled across the U.S.

Ten people were seriously injured.

Immigration officials say they think they know who the van's owner is; the van had license plates from the Los Angeles area. Troopers say they don't know if the driver was killed or injured, or among those who left the scene after the crash.

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