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Driver In Goliad Accident Identified

The driver of a one-vehicle wreck that killed 14 illegal immigrants and injured nine others has been released by Department of Public Safety officials. According to the Victoria Advocate’s Jennifer Preyss, Trooper Gerald Bryant said Ricardo Mendoza-Pineda, 22, of Mexico, has been identified as the driver of the 2000 Ford F-250 extended cab pickup truck that was carrying 22 Guatemala and Honduras nationals north on U.S. Highway 59 toward Goliad.

Mendoza-Pineda was the only Mexican resident. He was among 11 people who died on impact about 6:30 p.m. Sunday when the truck struck two trees. The right front tire appeared to have lost its tread about 300 yards away before impact. The wreck occurred about three miles south of Farm-to-Market Road 1351 on U.S. Highway 59. The highway’s speed limit is 75 mph and DPS officials said the truck would likely have been traveling at least that fast.

Bryant said several of the bodies have been identified, but they are not releasing the identities until their families are notified. Eleven of the deceased were men and three were women, including two girls 8 and 10 years old. Nine survivors of the wreck were transported to area hospitals.

Check Wednesday’s Victoria Advocate for a full update.

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