Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
PHS freshman dies in rollover on Duval Road
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
A Pecos High School freshman died Monday night at a Lubbock hospital, where she was flown after being involved in a one-vehicle rollover with three other persons Monday afternoon northwest of Pecos.
Rachael Licon was fatally injured in the accident, which occurred at 2:59 p.m. on the Duval Road. None of the other three passengers in the vehicle were reported to have been seriously injured.
According to a report by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Licon was a passenger in a 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass that was northbound on Duvall Road, also known as FM 2119, when it missed a curve on the highway, causing the rollover.
The accident occurred 5.3 miles north of Pecos, near the western intersection of Business I-20 (old U.S. 80) and Interstate 20 at mile marker 37.
According to DBS trooper Roy Lytle, the vehicle was traveling northbound when the driver, identified as Joseph Joaquin Garcia, 17, entered into a left hand curve. The vehicle ran off the south side of the road, causing Garcia to lose control and enter into a broadside skid. The vehicle then re-entered the roadway and overturned 11/2 times.
Both passengers in the rear seats of the Oldsmobile were ejected, and the car came to rest on its top in the southbound lane, facing east.
Licon was flown to Covenant Hospital in Lubbock, but was pronounced dead by Dr. Jane Goldthorn at 9:19 p.m. Monday night. Her body was taken to the Lubbock County Medical Examiner's office. She was not wearing her seatbelt, according to Lytle's report.
Along with Garcia, the other passengers in the Oldsmobile were identified as Janifer Vega, 15, and Rodolfo Torres, 18. Vega, Torres, and Garcia were treated and released from Reeves County Hospital after treatment of their injuries on Monday. Garcia and Vega were wearing seatbelts, while Torres was not, according to the DPS report.
The report also did not indicate whether or not alcohol was involved in the cause of the accident.
Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez said grief counseling will be conducted for the friends of the deceased today at the high school. As of yet school officials have not decided upon a school-wide memorial service, until the details can be worked out with the family.
School officials also could not say at press time whether or not the four teens were authorized to be out of school at the time the accident occurred. Classes ended for PHS students at 3:40 p.m. on Monday, about 40 minutes after the rollover occurred.
Brookshire still probing cause of house blast
By JON FULBRIGHT
Reeves County Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said he has not yet determined the exact cause of a house explosion Saturday evening in Balmorhea that sent two people to a Lubbock hospital.
Sylvia Valasco and Manuel "Manny" Rayos were listed in stable condition on Monday at the burn unit of University Medical Center in Lubbock. They were flown there from Reeves County Hospital on Saturday after the explosion of their trailer home, located in the 300 block of El Paso Street in Balmorhea.
Investigators with the Reeves County Sheriff's Department said on Monday they suspect that a gas leak in the house supplied the fuel, and the lighting of a cigarette provided the spark, for the explosion, which destroyed the couple's home. Brookshire said this morning he couldn't confirm that was the cause of the explosion until further investigation.
"All I know right now is it looked like a flash fire went through it. What the cause of the fire was I haven't determined yet," he said.
"When it happened, I went over to the hospital right after the fire, but they had them both sedated, and I wasn't able to talk to them yet," Brookshire added.
"You could tell by looking around the mobile home that it was a flash fire. The glass was blown out 25-30 feet around the mobile home in every direction," he said. "I talked to some neighbors, and they said it shook the ground all around them."
Brookshire said that despite the force of the blast, the explosion damaged no other homes or other buildings in the area.
Valasco was reportedly the more seriously burned of the two in the explosion, but Brookshire said it might be a while before I can talk to either of the burn victims. "I'll probably wait a while, until they get into better condition to try and talk to them," he said.
New Carrasco search effort
By ROSIE FLORES
put off by last week's storm
A new search effort into the disappearance of a 16-year-old girl from a Balmorhea home has been delayed due to last week's bad weather.
Monica Cassandra Carrasco disappeared sometime between the late evening of Oct. 1 and the early morning of Oct. 2 from the home of family members she was staying with in Balmorhea. Searches were conducted for the 16-year-old in the days and weeks following her disappearance, and Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said two weeks ago that special dogs would be in Alpine in mid-February, looking for someone else and that Reeves County had requested their aid in helping to locate Monica.
However, Gomez said today that because of the icy conditions and sub-freezing temperatures last Thursday through Saturday, searchers were unable to do anything at that time.
"I'm still trying to get something together, so that we can go out again and do another search," said Gomez.
Carrasco is described as 110 pounds, black hair with red streaks, brown eyes and 5-foot-5 in height. She has a small mole on her cheek and a chicken pox scar near her hairline on her forehead.
Carrasco was an Alpine High School Student and was living in Alpine until she became ill and was hospitalized and released. She was staying with her uncle and aunt recovering from an eating disorder, according to her mother Kathy Carrasco.
Carrasco added that family members in Balmorhea last saw Monica alive around 1:30 a.m.. Gomez confirmed that she was last seen alive in the late morning hours and was wearing her pajamas.
Carrasco's family will hold a candle-light vigil this coming Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Gazebo in Balmorhea, and Midland Crime Stoppers continues to offer a reward for information into the disappearance of the 16-year-old.
People are urged to call the Midland Crime Stoppers at 432-694-TIPS or 1-800-7-LOCKUP or any local law enforcement agency with any information that might be beneficial to the investigation.
Crime Stoppers would like to stress that callers will remain anonymous and that no caller ID is ever used on a call.
Individuals can also call the Reeves County Sheriff's Office at 432-445-4901 or the local Crime Stoppers, 432-445-9898.
K of C hosting hoop shoot event Thursday
The Knights of Columbus will be holding their annual Hoop Shoot contest this Thursday evening, at the old Pecos High School gym.
The free throw shooting competition will begin at 6:30 p.m., and is open to all boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. Registration will begin at 6 p.m., and the winners in each of the divisions will advance to regional competition.
High Monday 73. Low this morning 32. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows near 35. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs near 75. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Windy with areas of blowing dust. Highs near 80. West winds 20 to 30 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Lows near 40. Friday: Partly cloudy. Windy with areas of blowing dust. Highs in the mid 60s. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower to mid 30s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise