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Deputy Accused of Causing Fatal Collision

A Webb County Sheriff’s deputy is alleged to have caused a fatal crash that killed two women and a 2-month-old baby just before Valentine’s Day.

Details of the Fatal Crash

According to the Laredo Morning Times, the fatal collision occurred when an 18-wheeler crashed into a Toyota Tundra along Texas 359 on February 13. Bertha Clara Ortega de Negrete, 59, Suleika Reyna Fonseca Saldivar, 33, and Alessandra Juliette Garcia, 2-months, were killed in the collision.

Originally, the driver of the tractor-trailer was originally cited for failure to control speed; however, other motorists alleged a patrol car driven by Deputy Mauro Lopez, 62, drastically reduced speed, causing the crash.

Motorists say Lopez was traveling in front of the 18-wheeler in the eastbound lane slowed down rapidly to pull over the Tundra which was traveling west. The 18-wheeler, driven by Alfredo Gonzalez Martinez, had to swerve to avoid the patrol car and jackknifed before hitting the Tundra.

In light of the new accusations, Sheriff Martin Cuellar is considering seeking an independent accident reconstructionist to better understand the events that led up to the crash.

Trucking Accident Statistics

The following information was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 438,000 trucking accidents occurred in 2014, resulting in 3,903 deaths and 111,000 injuries.
  • Of those killed:
    • 17 percent were occupants of large trucks
    • 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles
    • 10 percent were nonoccupants, including pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Texas led the nation in fatal trucking accidents with 553 deaths recorded. California followed Texas with 300 trucking fatalities reported.

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