6 die in 3-vehicle crash on Texas highway, authorities say

GEORGE WEST, Texas (AP) — A minivan trying to overtake a vehicle in a no-passing zone on a Texas highway crashed head-on into an SUV, which was then rear-ended by another vehicle, authorities said. Six people died and five others were injured.

The crash happened around 6:20 p.m. Friday near George West, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Corpus Christi, said Sgt. Guadalupe Casarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“It was a pretty drastic scene,” Casarez said.

The crash remained under investigation Monday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. But the department said in a news release that a minivan traveling south on U.S. Highway 59 tried to pass in a no-passing zone and crashed head-on into the northbound SUV. A sedan then slammed into the back of the SUV.

The vehicle that was being passed was not hit in the crash, Casarez said.

The driver of the minivan, Xochitl Veronica Lopez, 39, of Houston, died at the scene, along with a juvenile passenger in the minivan, the department said.

The driver of the SUV, Salvador Almeda Mendoza, 47, of Ganado, Texas, was also killed, along with two passengers, Ilda Briones Nieves, 58, and Honorio Lazo Navarro, 74, both of Ganado.

The sixth person killed was a passenger in the sedan whose name has not been released.

Five other people were taken to a hospital with “non-incapacitating injuries,” the public safety department said.

Authorities so far don’t believe that alcohol was a factor, Casarez said.

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