Pasadena police said four people are dead and two others are in critical condition after a car drifted into oncoming traffic and slammed into a taxi van.
Pasadena police spokesman Vance Mitchell said Saturday the impact sounded like an "explosion" to an officer who happened to be near the early morning crash.
Mitchell said there was no actual fire but described the accident scene as horrendous.
Investigators said the Mazda Miata convertible that hit the taxi apparently went too fast around a curve and lost control on East NASA Parkway and Lakeview Boulevard around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Mitchell said two people in the car died along with two passengers in the backseat of the taxi van.
The taxi driver and a front-seat passenger were airlifted to a hospital with critical injuries.
The family of four in the taxi were from Dallas and were on their way back from a late dinner heading to a hotel.
They were scheduled to depart on a cruise from Galveston Saturday morning.
Investigators believed the driver and passenger in the Mazda were in their early 20s and were driving from New Boston, TX.
The medical examiner's office identified two of the victims as Sasha Dumis, 25, and David Crane. The names of the other victims have not yet been released.
Investigators believe alcohol was a factor.