BOTTINEAU, N.D. – A speeding pickup truck driver killed two young brothers from Texas and injured their father and another boy when he lost control of his vehicle and drove over their tent at a North Dakota campground near the Canadian border, the Highway Patrol said Monday.
Trooper Capt. Gary Orluck said the 30-year-old driver from Newburg was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after the 1 a.m. Sunday accident at the Hahn's Bay Campground at Lake Metigoshe in Bottineau.
"He was driving too fast on a campground road, lost control and ran over the tent and crashed into a tree," Orluck said.
Five-year-old Alaries Ruiz and his 9-year-old brother, Cyris Ruiz, were killed. Their 28-year-old father, Juan Ruiz, was flown to a hospital in Minot, 85 miles southwest of the campground, where he was treated for serious but not life-threatening injuries, Orluck said. The boys' friend, 9-year-old Anthony Tabarez Jr., of Newburg, has minor injuries, he said.
"There will be criminal charges," Bottineau County prosecutor Swain Benson said Monday. "As far as which charges, we're still evaluating that."
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The driver was being held in the Bottineau County jail Monday and had yet to appear in court.
The brothers had traveled from their home in El Paso, Texas, to visit their father who worked in the oil patch region of North Dakota. Their bodies were sent to Bismarck for autopsies and their mother, Sandy Hernandez, was heading to North Dakota on Monday.
Orluck said Ruiz knew the driver of the truck who, along with his two passengers, had been staying at the campsite too.
"We have an indication that they were all camping together and all parties were at least acquaintances," Orluck said.
The campground is located less than two miles from the Canadian border, and within the Turtle Mountain State Forest, a 12-square-mile parcel that is among the most-wooded areas of North Dakota, a prairie state.
State Forester Larry Kotchman said the 25-unit campground was closed immediately after the crash.
"We are deeply saddened by this. It is very tragic," Kotchman said.