Winter Texans Killed in Mexico Bus Crash

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March 18, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

A drunken-driving suspect lost control of his tractor-trailer and slammed into a bus carrying a tour group from Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley, killing 11 people, officials said Tuesday (March 17).
The deaths included seven Americans, among them two teachers from Brownsville, Texas, and a Winter Texan from Iowa. Also killed were three Canadians and the Mexican bus driver, said Jose Angel Herrera, a federal homicide detective in northern Coahuila state, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The crash occurred in Saltillo, Mexico, located 150 miles southwest of Brownsivlle.
Todd Huizinga, a spokesman for the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, said nine Americans were injured and most were in stable condition. One was the wife of the Iowan who died.
Herrera said the tractor-trailer driver lost control, swerved onto the shoulder to his left, then overcompensated to the right and crashed into the bus coming from the opposite direction. Sixteen people were injured, many seriously.
Herrera said the truck driver, who was among those hurt, was intoxicated and would be charged with involuntary homicide.
The passengers were on a four-day tour of the Mexican cities of Zacatecas and Real de Catorce, said Tomas Gonzalez, owner of McAllen, Texas-based Viva Mexico Tours, which hired the Grupo Senda bus. It was traveling to Zacatecas on Monday when the accident occurred.
Among the dead was Ron Christy of West Liberty, Iowa, who had been wintering with his wife in the Rio Grande Valley for 15 years. Maggie Christy, 69, was injured.
The couple stayed at the Palm Shadows RV Park in Donna and for the past three years had volunteered as the park's tour directors.
Garry Gibbons, the manager of the nearby Victoria Palms RV Park, said he knew that residents of his park were among the tour group and counted among the dead, but he declined to release their names. With 2,000 residents, he was unsure of who was on the trip.

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