all were from Mexico, Central America
Federal immigration officials said today that all of the fourteen people who were killed when an overloaded pickup truck veered off a highway and slammed into a tree in rural south Texas were from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.
Gregory Palmore of Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the dead include 11 males and three females. Two children are among the dead.
A total of 22 people were crammed into an F-250 pickup truck, seven in the cab and 15 in the bed of the pickup, when it careened off Highway 59 near Goliad, about 80 miles southeast of San Antonio, about 7 PM Sunday, according to Lt. Glen Garrett of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
"We suspect at this time it is going to be illegal immigrants that were in the vehicle, based on the way they were traveling," Garrett told 1200 WOAI news.
U.S. Highway 59 is a main route for immigrant smugglers to take undocumented individuals from the US Mexico border to Houston. It was along Highway 59 just northeast of where the Sunday night accident tool place that a truck driver unhitched a milk trailer packed with dozens of undocumented immigrants back in 2003. 19 had died by the time officials opened the trailer, and the pickup driver was sentenced to prison.
DPS Trooper Gerald Bryant, who investigated the crash, says victims were sent by helicopter to hospitals in Corpus Christi, Victoria, and San Antonio.
"11 were killed at the scene, six of them were killed in the truck, and five, their bodies were outside, they had been thrown from the vehicle," Bryant said.
Three others died Monday in hospitals. It is unclear whether the driver of the truck was among the dead.
It is the second multiple fatality accident in south Texas involving undocumented immigrants in four months. In April, nine people died when a van packed with 19 immigrants crashed in Palmdale, on the Rio Grande.