2 Texas A&M cadets, 1 other killed in car crash

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Associated Press

Posted on March 4, 2013 at 10:32 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — Two Texas A&M Corps of Cadet freshmen and another woman were killed early Sunday in a wrong-way crash outside of Houston that police say may have been alcohol-related.

The crash happened at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday when Katie Thomas, who was driving a Ford Mustang, drove south in a northbound lane, hitting head-on a Ford Explorer carrying three Texas A&M Corps of Cadet freshmen.

Thomas died at the scene, investigators said.

The driver of the Explorer and a backseat passenger were also killed. They have been identified as Amy Pacheco, 18, and Miguel Hernandez, also 18. The front seat passenger, Francisco Campos, is in stable condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Police are investigating whether alcohol played a role in the crash. The northbound lanes of Highway 290, where the crash occurred, reopened shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday.

Corps Commander Eric Gil said the cadets had been in Houston to help judge a Houston Independent School District contest and were driving back to College Station for an early Sunday morning service project.

"We're reeling right now and coming together," Gil, a senior, told the Houston Chronicle. "We'll get through this. The Aggie family is strong."

Pacheco, the driver of the Ford Explorer, had been a Jones Scholar, a four-year need and merit scholarship program that covers up to $16,000 of college costs for Houston-area high school graduates. Friends and family gathered Sunday at her family's home.

"We in the Corps of Cadets and at Texas A&M University are in mourning over the loss of two of our cadets in a tragic car accident early this morning," said Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez, Jr., the commandant.

"We offer our sincerest condolences, thoughts and prayers to their family and friends and ask everyone to respect these families and our cadets as we mourn during these trying times," he said.

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