Tire blowout likely cause of fatal crash
by Bee-Picayune staff report
Jul 27, 2012 | 2362 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jason Collins photo
Red roses sit atop a fence where 15 people died in a crash near Berclair Sunday evening.
Jason Collins photo Red roses sit atop a fence where 15 people died in a crash near Berclair Sunday evening.
BERCLAIR – A juvenile and an adult injured in Sunday night’s one-vehicle crash near Berclair that left 15 people dead have been released from a San Antonio hospital.

The two are now in custody of immigration authorities. The cause of that crash, officials say, was likely caused by a tire separation.

Six other people injured in the crash remain hospitalized.

Eleven people were pronounced dead at the scene Sunday night after a 2000 Ford F-250 carrying 23 people veered off U.S. Highway 59 between Berclair and Goliad and struck two trees.

Four other people died in hospitals, raising the death toll to 15.

Officials have identified at least three of those killed, Goliad Funeral Home owner Adrian Fulton said Wednesday.

Five others have been tentatively identified, according to Fulton, who also operates Victoria Mortuary and Cremation Service. The 11 bodies pronounced dead at the scene are in Victoria.

“We’re just waiting for family members to submit photographs,” Fulton said of the five tentative identifications. “Three have been positively identified through fingerprints.”

Fulton said he has received phone calls from all over the United States and Central America from people wanting to know if those among the dead were relatives or friends.

“Monday, we probably fielded over 1,000 calls,” Fulton said. “The phone has been ringing all through the night, and we’ve probably had 300 calls today. The last phone call I got was at 4:30 this morning, and the next one came in at 7:30.”

Fulton said the dead had no identifications on them. He said most only had a toothbrush, toothpaste and a change of socks.

“When I first got the call from an officer on the scene, I was in disbelief when he told me he had that many fatalities,” Fulton said. “Before I left my office, I called the sheriff’s office to verify it, and they confirmed it. I called every employee I’ve got and dispatched every car I have.”

Department of Public Safety Trooper Gerald Bryant said that the wreck was likely caused by a tire that separated and blew.

He added that those with the state reconstruction team are looking at the tire but have not determined if it was a defect in the tire or a puncture that caused it to separate.

He did not specify what brand of tire was on the truck.
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