15th person dies after truck crash in Texas
Jose Perez, a resident of nearby Berclair, Texas, sprinkles holy water Monday, July 23, 2012, where a truck crashed into a tree on the side of U.S. Highway 59 between Goliad and Beeville, / AP Photo
(AP) McALLEN, Texas - Federal immigration officials say a 15th person involved in a pickup truck crash in South Texas has died.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Greg Palmore said Tuesday that another man died following the crash on a rural highway about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio Sunday evening. That means 12 men were killed. Three females, including two juveniles, also died.
Eight people remain hospitalized. The victims are from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
The pickup truck's front tire that apparently had come apart was likely the cause of the crash, authorities said Tuesday.
The truck packed with 23 people crashed Sunday evening near Goliad, Tex. Nine passengers remain hospitalized.
"More than likely the crash was caused by front right tire separation," Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Gerald Bryant said Tuesday.
The investigation into the crash continues, and Bryant would not say if the tire was old and worn or if the separation was a manufacturing issue. He did not name the tire brand.
Eleven people died at the scene, including at least two children. Three more died later at hospitals.
Bryant identified the driver as 22-year-old Ricardo Mendoza-Pineda, who died in the crash.
14 killed in single truck crash in Texas
Mendoza-Pineda was from Mexico, Bryant said, but he could not comment on his immigration status. He said interviews with survivors indicated the truck was bound for Houston.
The Mexican Consulate in San Antonio had confirmed Monday that one 22-year-old man from Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, was among the dead. Bryant said he did not know what part of Mexico Mendoza-Pineda was from.
In a statement, the Guatemalan government said at least two Guatemalans died in the accident, a 27-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman.
Crashes of vehicles overloaded with illegal immigrants moving north from the border occur periodically, often as they attempt to evade authorities.
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.
In that case, six adults face a variety of federal charges and the 15-year-old driver was charged in state court with nine counts of murder.
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