Troopers: Passengers in truck crash that killed 14 may be illegal immigrants


by Kevin Reece/ KHOU 11 News

Posted on July 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 24 at 10:44 AM

VICTORIA, Texas—Out of the 23 people crammed inside a truck that slammed into two trees in south Texas Sunday night, 14 people have died.  And now, DPS troopers are looking into the possibility that they may have been illegal immigrants traveling into the country.

The registered owner of the truck says he sold it two months ago. Troopers are investigating who really owned it and who was behind the wheel, because the driver is among those who died.

Witnesses Christina Rodriguez and Christina Reyes were the first to arrive, just seconds after the crash.

"There was about 10, 12 bodies on the ground. It was crazy. I was just shocked," said Rodriguez.

"I just got on the phone and just started counting bodies. That was the first thing that came to my mind was to count bodies, check for pulses—who was breathing who was not breathing," said Reyes.

There were 11 dead on impact. Most of them—seven—had been in the cab of the truck, including two young teenage girls.

"It was a very solemn accident scene," said Trooper Gerald Bryant, who was there as the bodies were removed.

"A lot of times when illegals are transported into the United States, this is a common way of them being transported, unfortunately," said DPS PIO Gerald Bryant.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is involved to confirm if that was the case here. Troopers say there was little if any identification on the victims. There was little if any luggage. And troopers say answers, names, and families may take weeks to find.

They say they’ve seen people take these dangerous risks before, but never with results as bad as this.