Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Local residents among victims of I-10 accident
By JENNIFER GALVAN
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise