Two young girls—Leilani Florez, 9, and Angelina Garza, 11—died Friday afternoon after they and another passenger were ejected from an SUV during a rollover in the southbound lanes of Interstate 37 near George West.
“That accident was one of at least four others that took place in the space of a few hours that day,” Live Oak County Sheriff Larry Busby explained Monday during a brief cell phone interview from Fort Worth.
Leilani Florez died at the scene of the rollover; Angelina Garza died after being flown to an area hospital, reports show. None of the passengers in the vehicle were believed to have been wearing seat belts.
When the accident was initially called in to 911, all three who were ejected were reported unresponsive, with a fourth person performing CPR on them. However, the third person who was ejected and the other passengers are expected to recover.
They all hail from Garland, authorities said.
A ways away from that fatality but still along I-37 that same afternoon, a one-mile long grass fire consumed both sides of the highway.
First responders from George West, Beeville, Three Rivers and Whitsett had their hands full trying to put it out.
The fire apparently was caused when a truck’s tires blew, forcing it to the side of the road, the subsequent flames catching the grass on fire.
Authorities were forced to shut down that area until the heavy flames and smoke could be dispatched. It took fire authorities awhile, but no major injuries were reported.
The final incident took place shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday. A white Ryder Rental truck veered off Highway 72 near FM 1545 and into a fence.
It was at this point that the driver, John Skinner, hit the windshield with his head, shattering glass all over him.
Skinner died en route to a Beeville hospital, reports show.
Ben Tinsley is a reporter for The Progress newspaper in Three Rivers. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 361-786-3022. Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenTinsley, Google at http://plus.google.com/+BenTinsley or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12.