Life was sucked from a Northeast neighborhood Monday when it learned that five of its neighbors, including three children, were killed in an early morning crash outside Fabens.
Along with the deaths of two women and the three children, the crash also injured three others as the vehicle the Northeast family was in rolled over and was hit by an 18-wheeler at about 1 a.m. on Interstate 10 between Fabens and Tornillo.
El Paso County sheriff’s officials said three girls, two 12-year-olds and a 1-year-old, were taken to the hospital. They have not been identified.
Two of them were in critical condition. Neighbors said all but one of the 12-year-olds were related.
“All the neighbors are taking it really hard because there is so much life at that house,” said Mary Olivas, who lives across the street from the Barnes family.
Maria Lozano, the Barnes’ next-door neighbor, said she was watching the house while the family was away. The family was returning to El Paso from a vacation when they crashed.
“They were always happy and always playing in the front yard,” Lozano said. “I told all of our neighbors and I just felt sick to my stomach.”
Lozano said Candace Denise Barnes was the mother of Brittney Leigh Barnes and a 12-year-old who is in critical condition.
Brittney Leigh Barnes was the mother of Bethanie Ann Barnes and the 1-year-old in critical condition, Lozano said. They were twins and getting ready to turn 2.
Caiden Matthew Barnes and Aaron Israel Arenas were
cousins to the twins and grandchildren to Candace Denise Barnes.
The second 12-year-old was a friend of the family. She was the one who was able to provide information to emergen cy responders, Lozano said.
The eight were coming back to El Paso from Houston, where they visited relatives, Lozano said.
All eight were traveling in a 2000 Honda Odyssey.
Sheriff’s deputies investigating the crash believe a blown tire caused the driver to lose control, Acosta said.
The driver of a 2002 silver Ford Expedition going east on I-10 saw the overturned minivan and tried to swerve. This caused the SUV to flip over and land back on its tires in the expanded right shoulder, Acosta said.
Following the Expedition was an eastbound 18-wheeler that moved to the left lane to avoid debris, but did not see the minivan and collided with it, Acosta said.
The 18-wheeler pushed the minivan an unknown distance into the dirt median, Acosta said. By the time the 18-wheeler came to a rest, it was facing west.
The three children and the two adult women in the minivan died at the scene. The three other children were taken to an area hospital, Acosta said.
The driver of the 18-wheeler was also taken to a hospital for minor injuries, but was later released. The two adults and one child in the Expedition were treated at the scene for minor injuries, Acosta said.
I-10 was closed from the Fabens exit to the Tornillo exit going both east and west for more than nine hours as deputies investigated the wreckage.
Lozano said she had a bad feeling around midnight when she saw the minivan was not back from its trip.
“At about 12:30 a.m., I looked outside and didn’t see the car, so I got worried,” Lozano said.
Isaac Barnes, the husband of Candace Denise Barnes, went to the hospital to be with his 12-year-old daughter, who was supposed to go into surgery.
“He is very calm right now, but maybe he is in shock,” Lozano said. “I’m worried for him because he might lose his entire family.”
Lozano said she has lived next door to the Barnes family for more than 25 years. The children called her “grandma,” even though they were not related.
“They used to run up to me and say ‘grandma, grandma,’ and then they would say ‘hi’ or ‘bye,’” Lozano said. “They knew a little Spanish and would talk to me.”
Lozano’s granddaughter would usually play with the 4- and 5-year-olds.
“She is the one that is very sad,” Lozano said. “She wants to know who she is going to play with now. They were her friends.”
Olivas said she did not know the children, but grew fond of seeing them play every day.
“Every morning when I went outside, they would be playing on the swings and in their little pool,” Olivas said. “Now I’m not going to see the children.”
Other neighbors said they were too sad to speak about their deaths.
“The man loved his grandchildren. Now he is going to need support,” Olivas said. “This neighborhood is going to help and support him.”
This is the second time in about a week that a car crash has killed five people at once. On July 22, a two-car crash in Montana Vista killed Humberto Ignacio Alferez, 63; Aurora Sombra, 52; Jassmine Alferez, 18; Brenda Morales; 12, and DeMarco Morales, 11.
Sheriff’s deputies said the two fatal wrecks have raised the total of traffic-related fatalities in the county to 15, compared to three at this time last year.
Aaron Bracamontes may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6156. Follow him on Twitter @AaronBrac.
Article source: http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_21198845