9 Killed in Mexico by Truck With No Brakes

A tractor-trailer lost its brakes and killed nine people as it plowed through a residential area in this northern industrial city.

The driver of the rig towing two trailers loaded with 66 tons of steel tubes lost control of the vehicle Sunday on a major avenue of the Monterrey suburb of Santa Catarina and crashed into pedestrians, cars, dozens of buildings, utility poles and traffic lights before coming to a halt, said Jorge Vargas, civil protection director of Santa Catarina, on Multimedios TV.

Vargas said the truck finally stopped as it hit a building and caught fire, leaving behind a 2.5-mile trail of destruction.

"I just heard a roar, sort of like an earthquake," said Ramon Sanchez, who witnessed the wreck, in an interview with Multimedios.

Santa Catarina Mayor Dionisio Herrera said nine people were killed and seven injured.

Herrera said two of the victims were killed after one of two loaded platforms the trailer was hauling came loose and hit a taxi and a pickup truck. A few seconds later the trailer crashed head on against a taxi carrying three people and struck several pedestrians, he said.

Authorities identified two of the bodies as 90-year-old Isidro Flores and 45-year-old Jose Bernal, Herrera said.

The mayor said traffic officer Joel Garcia, 44, helped prevent more deaths by alerting pedestrians with a megaphone to get out of the way after noticing the trailer's driver was in trouble.

"What I wanted was to help our citizens but it was frustrating because I couldn't do more, I couldn't avoid this tragedy," Garcia said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, which was heading to the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, was being questioned by investigators, Vargas said.