Phoenix police said a 16-year-old boy was driving six of his siblings to various schools in a minivan that didn't have any child seats installed and apparently none of the passengers were wearing seat belts.
Witnesses told police that the minivan's driver tried to pass a car on the shoulder of a road about 7:20 a.m., but overcorrected and veered into oncoming traffic and was broadsided by a sedan.
Three children in the minivan were ejected, according to Sgt. Trent Crump, a police spokesman.
Authorities said one of the boys was pronounced dead at the scene and the other two died later at hospitals.
The names of those killed weren't immediately released, but police said the boys were ages 5, 8 and 11.
The 16-year-old driver was hospitalized in stable condition. Police said the teen was unlicensed and had applied for a learner's permit.
Due to the severity of the crash and the multiple road violations, including driving without a license, police investigators were looking into filing criminal charges against the teen.
Police said the driver of the sedan -- a man in his 40s whose name wasn't immediately available -- was in critical condition along with a 4-year-old girl.
Two other people in the minivan -- ages 12 and 14 -- were injured but expected to survive, authorities said.
The crash scene was near the Phoenix Union High School District, but police still haven't determined where the teen was driving his siblings. They said the driver and his 14-year-old brother were about to start their first year at La Joya Community High School in Tolleson.
More Nation & World Headlines
Al-Qaida captures leader of U.S.-backed Syrian rebels California cuts water use by 27 percent George McGovern revealed he had a secret child Pentagon OKs guns to protect stateside troops Man describes finding 777 part on Reunion Island Blue moon? Celestial event comes with a catch U.S. looking for lion-killing Minnesota dentist 3 hurt in emergency evacuation of Boeing MD-80
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.