On Sunday, March 3, 2013 in the early hours of the morning, a wrong-way crash claimed the lives of two Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets freshmen and injured another. According to the Houston Chronicle, the head-on collision happened on U.S. Highway 290 as the freshmen were returning back to College Station after a weekend home in Houston. The three corps members had returned to Houston the Friday prior to judge a high school JROTC competition. Amy Pacheco, Cesar Chavez High School graduate, and Miguel Hernandez, Northbrook High School graduate, both died in the crash. Both were just 18-years-old. Francisco Campos, also a Cesar Chavez graduate and also 18, was injured in the crash. All three corps members were graduates of Houston-area high schools.
The crash also claimed the life of the at-fault driver, 21-year-old Katie Thomas of Deer Park. Thomas, driving a 2005 Ford Mustang, was driving the wrong way down U.S. Highway 290 when the collision occurred. The Aggie freshmen were in a Ford Explorer when they were struck head-on by Thomas. The crash happened at approximately 3:30 a.m. last Sunday as the Aggie freshmen were returning to College Station. The Explorer caught fire before it rolled to a stop. Francisco Campos was able to escape the burning SUV, but Amy Pacheco and Miguel Hernandez were found dead at the scene. Campos is recovering from his injuries in the hospital, is reported to be out of surgery, and is expected to remain in the hospital for another two weeks.
According to CW39 NewsFix, investigating deputies say that they found beer bottles in Thomas’ car. This indicates that not only was Thomas driving the wrong way, she may have also been intoxicated at the time of the crash. Texas A&M University has conducted taps ceremonies for Pacheco and Hernandez. According to Eric Gil, Aggie senior and Reserve Officer Training Corps commander, “We’re reeling right now and coming together…we’ll get through this…the Aggie family is strong.”