TYLER, Texas – A tire exploded on an overloaded SUV, causing a rollover crash that killed five children and injured five other family members as they headed to a Texas waterpark, investigators said Tuesday.
The SUV was carrying 12 people, including nine children, Monday afternoon when it crashed near Van, about 70 miles east of Dallas, according to Department of Public Safety trooper Jean Dark. The passengers were wearing their swimsuits and the children were all siblings or cousins, Dark said.
The driver, 36-year-old Federico Acuna, and a 15-year-old girl were the only two wearing seat belts — and the only two not hurt in the crash, Dark said. Acuna lost control of the vehicle, which rolled several times before coming to rest on its top, she said. Ten passengers were thrown from the vehicle, she said.
Two boys and three girls died in the crash, while three other children and two adults were injured, she said.
The GMC Envoy was carrying too many passengers and had no child safety seats, Dark said. No charges have been filed and an investigation is ongoing.
The DPS identified the children who died as: 13-year-old Rosvaelia Jaimes; 7-year-old Omar Jaimes; 6-year-old Saideth Acuna; 3-year-old Ulisa Acuna; and 2-year-old Urit Jaimes.
The family came from Marshall and had been driving to the Splash Kingdom water park in Canton, about 55 miles east of Dallas.