South Gate Police Lt. Russ Galbreath says the driver struck several students after classes let out at a nearby middle school.
Galbreath says three 13-year-old boys and a 14-year-old girl were taken to hospitals. Three have been released. The 14-year-old boy died at a hospital.
Officers are questioning the driver. Galbreath says the driver, who is in his 20s, did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Sgt. Mario Saldivar says investigators believe a mechanical failure caused the van to swerve out of control.
South Gate is about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
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