By Jueseppi B.
In a photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety the wreckage of a pickup truck is seen after it crahed into trees in Goliad County, Texas, Sunday July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Public Safety)
A pickup truck carrying 23 people veered off a Texas highway and crashed late Sunday, killing 14 and injuring 9 others.
The Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup was was traveling north on U.S. Highway 59 when it crashed into two large trees near Goliad, Texas, about 100 miles southeast of San Antonio, Texas Highway Patrol trooper Gerald Bryant told KTRK-TV.
Some of the victims were airlifted to hospitals in San Antonio and Corpus Christi. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, police said.
“In my 38 years as an officer, this is one of the worst fatalities I have been to,” Bryant said. “I have never seen where we had that many in a vehicle.”
The victims were crammed in the cab and bed of the pickup truck.
“Based on the mode of travel, the way that the people were in the vehicle, it’s a high probability there were illegal immigrants traveling northbound on 59,” Texas Dept. of Safety Lt. Glen Garrett told KIII-TV.
According to CNN, U.S. border patrol and “immigration and customs enforcement agents were called to the scene.” Goliad County is about 150 miles northeast of the Mexican border.
The names of the victims have yet to be released. According to MySanAntonio.com, the vehicle was registered to an owner in Houston. The driver of the vehicle was one of the survivors.
“It is not uncommon for human traffickers to try to maximize profits by over-loading vehicles with illegal immigrants,” the Associated Press said. “In April, nine Mexican immigrants died near the border when the teenage driver of their van crashed after fleeing Border Patrol. There were 18 people in that minivan.”
(AP) McALLEN, Texas – A pickup truck overloaded with illegal immigrants veered off a highway and crashed into trees in rural South Texas, killing at least 14 people and leaving 9 injured, authorities said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents were looking into the human smuggling aspect of the case. A Texas Department of Public Safety accident reconstruction team meanwhile investigated the cause of the Sunday evening crash in Goliad County, about 150 miles northeast of the border with Mexico.
ICE spokesman Greg Palmore said that among the 11 men and three females who died were citizens of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
Gerald Bryant, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at least 23 passengers were crammed inside the truck’s cab and bed, including at least two young children whom he saw among the dead.
“This is the most people I’ve seen in any passenger vehicle, and I’ve been an officer for 38 years,” Bryant said.
The driver was among the 11 found dead at the scene, Bryant said, adding that investigators were trying to confirm his name. Six of those who died in the crash were still inside the mangled vehicle when emergency crews arrived at the scene, Bryant said.
The white 2000 Ford F-250 pickup was heading north on U.S. 59 when it drove off the right side of the highway near the unincorporated community of Berclair and struck two large trees, Bryant said. Berclair is about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio.
The truck was registered in Houston to someone other than the driver, Bryant said.
A DPS accident reconstruction team was investigating the accident, but Bryant said it could be another week or two before it is concluded. U.S. ICE agents were working to confirm the identities of the victims and investigate the possibility that they had been smuggled into the United States.
It is not uncommon for human traffickers to try to maximize profits by over-loading vehicles with illegal immigrants as they move their loads north from the Texas-Mexico border. In April, nine Mexican immigrants died near the border when the teenage driver of their van crashed after fleeing Border Patrol. There were 18 people in that minivan.
Bryant told The Associated Press that several of the survivors had life-threatening injuries. He did not have their official conditions but described them as “very serious.” The injured were taken to hospitals in San Antonio, Victoria and Corpus Christi.
A Goliad County sheriff’s spokesman did not immediately return a message left by the AP.
In just over 48 hours, two days, in two separate incidents, 26 human lives were lost. In both cases the deceased were simply doing what we all do on a daily basis. Twelve were watching a movie in a theater, fourteen were riding in a vehicle. It boggles my mind that simple actions such as riding in a pick up truck or watching a movie in a theater are no longer safe things to do.