An underage driver was the cause of a serious three-car crash just north of the Stevens County line Monday night.

The 15-year-old male driver was headed southbound with three passengers on Highway 291 when he swerved sideways into oncoming traffic and was struck by an SUV.

The two individuals on the passenger side suffered severe injuries and were airlifted to a Spokane hospital in serious condition.

The 15-year-old driver and the passenger behind him suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were transported by ambulance.

The driver of the SUV meanwhile was unharmed, and the driver of the third car behind the SUV was transported by ambulance only as a precaution.

The 15-year-old should not have been behind the wheel. Officers said he only had an instructional permit which requires an adult 21 or older to be in the car at all times.