Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise

Site Map
Pecos Gab

Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Archive 2001
Archive 2002
Photos 2000
Photos 2001
Photos 2002

Archive 2003

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Local residents among victims of I-10 accident

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., July 22, 2003 -- A four-vehicle chain reaction crash at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint station in Sierra Blanca claimed the lives of five people, including two Pecos residents, while injuring four others Monday morning.

The Texas Department of Public Safety report the accident occurred at 9:50 a.m., MDT (10:50 a.m. CDT) in the eastbound lanes at mile marker 102 on Interstate 10, which is the location of the Sierra Blanca U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint.

According to the report a 1994 Freightliner driven by Stan Kennedy, 61, of Shreveport, La., was traveling east bound and as it approached the checkpoint it failed to control speed causing it to strike a 1996 Ford Mustang, which was driven by Rudy Carrasco, 32, of Pecos.

The Frelightliner then struck the back left end of a 2001 Nissan, causing it to rotate clockwise. The truck then struck unit three on its right passenger side.

The driver of the Nissan was identified as Vera Branscum, 58, of Arkansas.

The Carrascos' Mustang then rotated counter clockwise and struck the back end of a 1997 International Tracker Trailer, tow trailer, which was in line at the Border Patrol checkpoint in front of the Nissan.

Those killed in the accident were identified as Cecilia 'Ceci' Santana Carrasco, 27 and Jacob Carrasco, 7, both of Pecos, Branscum, Shannon Grady and Jaben Kassinger, all of Arkansas.

The checkpoint is on the south side of the main lanes of I-10, and traffic is directed by cones off of the interstate and into the checpoint area. However, during busy periods traffic will often back up onto the main lanes of the roadway, which apparently was where the accident occurred.

"There's signs for miles in advance and he didn't slow down. Not at all," DPS communications operator Jason Grijalva told The Associated Press. "It was complete devastation. Two vehicles don't even look like cars anymore."

Rudy Carrasco is a DPS dispatcher for the Pecos station. He and the other injured were taken to R.E. Thomas Hospital in El Paso, where he was listed in fair condition with broken ribs on both sides. His daughter, Bethany, is listed in critical condition with undisclosed injuries.

Co-workers of Carrasco at the Pecos DPS office said that they were devastated by the news of his wife and son's deaths, and that they feel for him.

The DPS report said all five victims were pronounced dead at 11:10 a.m., MDT., by Justice of the Peace Aguilar and were taken to El Paso Mortuary.

Cecilia and Jacob Carrasco, along with Kassinger were all wearing their safety belts when the crash occurred. It was unknown whether Branscum and Grady were restrained.

The two others injured were identified as Kennedy, and Jareb Kassinger, 7, of Arkansas. They were also taken to R.E. Thomason Hospital in El Paso for treatment.

Kennedy sustained a broken leg and punctured lung. Jareb is also listed in fair condition.

The driver of the tractor trailer that was struck in the rear by the Carrascos' Mustang was identified as Jose Cueto, 34, of El Paso. He suffered no injuries.

Eastbound traffic on I-10 was re-routed onto the north side I-10 service road for about five hours while the wreckage was cleared from the roadway.

The Sierra Blanca checkpoint is at the top of a 12-mile hill that brings interstate traffic up from the Upper Rio Grande Valley to the Sierra Blanca area, a rise in elevation of about 1,000 feet. At the accident scene, there are flashing lights, barrels and cones starting about a mile away warning traffic to slow down before arriving at the checkpoint, said Bill Brooks, spokesman for the Border Patrol's Marfa sector.

"It would be kind of like going into a construction zone," said Brooks.

This is the second major accident on I-10. The first accident killed four people in 1999 at the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10, west of Las Cruces, N.M., on May 23. In that accident a tractor-trailer failed to stop and slammed into the back of a truck, causing a chain-reaction among two semi-trailers and a truck that had stopped or slowed to a crawl waiting to ender the checkpoint. An East Texas couple was killed.

Texas DPS Cpl. David Wilbourn is investigating the accident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

HS football players have helmet fittings

PECOS, Tues., July 22, 2003 -- Helmet fitting for Pecos Eagle high school football players will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Pecos High School Field House.

Coach Patrick Willis said helmet fitting for juniors and seniors will be next Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., while freshman and sophomores should go to the field house on Thursday during those same times to get their helmet fitted for the upcoming season.

Two-a-days for Pecos varsity, junior varsity and freshman players will get underway at 7:30 a.m. on August 4.

Santa Rosa hosts garage sale event

PECOS, Tues., July 22, 2003 -- A Garage Sale is scheduled for 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. this Saturday at Santa Rosa Hall, at Third and Locust streets.

The fundraiser is sponsored by the Prayer Group and homemade breakfast burritos will also be for sale.


PECOS, Tues., July 22, 2003 -- High Mon. 107. Low this morning 73. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Wed.: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Wed. night: Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Thurs.: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 90s. Fri.: Partly cloudy. Lows near 70. Highs in the mid 90s.


Soledad Palomino

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise