Imperial County releases names of 13 SUV passengers killed in crash with big rig

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SAN DIEGO – The names of 13 people killed when an SUV packed with 25 passengers was T-boned by a gravel truck in Imperial County last week have been released by county officials.

The crash happened March 2 shortly after 6 a.m. when a 1997 Ford Expedition was hit by a 2011 Peterbilt tractor-trailer at the intersection of state Route 115 and Norrish Road, about 10 miles east of El Centro, California. Thirteen people in the Explorer died and 12 suffered moderate to major injuries. The driver of the Peterbilt truck was also injured.

According to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Department, the names of the passengers who died were:

  • Carolina Ramirez Perez, age 32;
  • Jesus Gilberto Romero Rojas, age 19;
  • Yesenia Magali Melendrez Cardona, age 23;
  • Raquel Aparicio Martinez, age 39;
  • Maria Isabel Boyzo Patino, age 34;
  • Rosalia Garcia Gonzalez,  32 age;
  • Magdalena Elizabeth Lopez Escobar, age 20;
  • Maria Guadalupe Mendez Vargas, age 49;
  • Felix Josefino Medina Rodriguez, age 53;
  • Jose Rogelio Orozco Mendez, age 51;
  • Jairo De Jesus Landin Duenas, age 23;
  • Gumaro Samuel Ramirez Cortez, age 39;
  • Arnulfo Talavera Mora, age 42.

Authorities did not say where the victims were from, but Border Patrol officials said last week that the SUV was carrying a load of people who crossed into the U.S. through a whole cut in the border fence about 30 miles east of the crash.

The 12 people who survived the crash were identified last week as:

  • Rene Zelando, 30-year-old male, of Nayarit, Mexico. Treated for major injuries;
  • Berti Orozco, 21-year-old female, of Guatemala City, Guatemala. Treated for major injuries;
  • Zeterina Mendoza, 33-year-old female, of Guerrero, Mexico. Treated for major injuries;
  • Camilio Rodriguez, 44-year-old male, of Santa Maria Del Oro, Mexico. Treated for major injuries.
  • Jose Martinez, 16-year-old male, of Guerrero, Mexico. Treated for major injuries; and
  • Berlin Cardona, 46-year-old female, of Guatemala City, Guatemala. Treated for major injuries;
  • Darlin Liliana Robledo, 20-year-old female, of Tapachula, Mexico. Treated for moderate injuries.
  • Avelardo Nava, 18-year-old male, of Guerrero, Mexico. Treated for moderate injuries;
  • Manuel Rufino, 39-year-old male, of Oaxaca, Mexico. Treated for moderate injuries.
  • Jorge Gutierrez Martinez, 24-year-old male, whose residence is unknown. Treated for major injuries;
  • Esteban Montiel, 22-year-old male, whose residence is unknown. Treated for major injuries;
  • A 15-year-old Jane Doe whose residence is unknown. She was treated for major injuries.

The cause of the crash was under investigation. The Expedition was built to carry eight passengers, but seats had been removed from the SUV except those for the driver and front passenger and 25 people were packed insides

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