The truck crash that claimed the lives of 14 people in South Texas just a few weeks ago likely occurred because of a problem with one of the truck’s front tires.
Crash scene investigators from the Texas Department of Public Safety believe that when the front right tire on the pickup truck came apart it caused the vehicle to veer off the roadway and crash , killing 14 of the 23 passengers. The remaining nine were hospitalized.
One of the officers that arrived on the scene of the crash, which occurred about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio, noted that it was the most people he has ever seen in a passenger vehicle.
Unfortunately, vehicles overloaded with passengers in Southern Texas is not all that uncommon. Human traffickers often overload their vehicles in order to maximize profits as they smuggle immigrants over the Mexican border; the 23 occupants of the pickup truck were illegal immigrants. (The Mexican consulate confirmed that at least one of the deceased was from Tamaulipas, which is just over the border of South Texas; the Guatemalan government has also confirmed two of the deceased were Guatemalans.)
Earlier this year, nine immigrants were killed just north of the Texas-Mexico border after the minivan they were riding in tried to evade border control and ended up crashing. The mini-van had 18 people in it.
In this case, it is unclear, whether it was a defect on the tire or simply wear and tear paired with too much weight of the overloaded vehicle that caused the tire to malfunction. Investigators are still trying to determine who was driving and who owned the vehicle that caused the fatal crash. It is unclear who may be considered liable for the accident.
Source: wlfi.com, “DPS: Tire likely cause of deadly crash,” 7/24/12.