| SAN ANTONIO, July 24
SAN ANTONIO, July 24 Nine people remain
hospitalized after a horrific one-car wreck in southern Texas
late on Sunday that killed 14 suspected illegal immigrants and
the death-toll may yet rise, police said on Tuesday.
Seven of the nine still hospitalized are in critical
condition, said Trooper Gerald Bryant of the Texas Department of
"We may end up with even more fatalities before it's over
with," Bryant said.
Investigators say that the right front tire of a Ford F-250
pickup truck packed with 23 people from Guatemala and Honduras
came apart as the vehicle rounded a curve on U.S. Highway 59
near Goliad on Sunday night, pulling the vehicle to the right
and causing the driver to slam into a tree.
It was the second multiple-fatality accident in the region
in the past three months that involved smuggling people in
In April, nine of 17 illegal immigrants in a packed minivan
were killed when the vehicle rolled over while being pursued by
U.S. Border Patrol agents near the border with Mexico in
Palmview. The suspected driver, a 15-year-old boy, and six
others, were charged in that crash.
Highway 59 is a well-traveled route for immigrant smugglers
between the Mexico border and Houston. It was along that road,
just northeast of the location of Sunday's accident, that a
truck driver unhitched a milk trailer packed with dozens of
undocumented immigrants in 2003. By the time officials opened
the trailer, 19 people had died, and the picku p drive r was later
sentenced to prison.
In Sunday's crash, it appears that the driver - who is among
the dead - was smuggling illegal immigrants to Houston, where
they hoped to find jobs, Bryant said.
The dead included 11 males and three females, Immigration
and Customs Enforcement officials have said. Two children were
among the dead.
Investigators have fingerprinted the crash victims and are
working to identify them using photographs from people in
Guatemala and Honduras who fear their relatives may be among the
dead and injured.
(Additional reporting by Jared Taylor in Edinburg, Texas;
Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and David Brunnstrom)