'One of the worst accidents I've seen'; Rio Rico wreck kills man & toddler
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED May. 13, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A Mother's Day road trip turns deadly for two families.
Authorities say a fiery head-on collision in Rio Rico's Pendleton Drive Sunday night left a man and young child dead and more than half a dozen others in the hospital.
First responders described it as chaos.
"This is one of the worst accidents I've seen in a long long time," said Captain George Cluft of the Rio Rico Fire District.
Now sitting in the Santa Cruz impound lot, the vehicles' mangled, charred remains seem to say it all.
They held two families, with a total of five kids, between the ages of nine months and seven years old.
That includes two year-old Julian Lopez, who paramedics found on the ground outside his mother Karla Lopez's SUV.
"We don't know whether he was actually ejected from the vehicle or whether somebody removed him to give him some type of attention," said Sheriff Tony Estrada.
He was one of two fatalities.
The other, says Sheriff Estrada was 33 year-old Abraham Cardenas, who was driving the truck.
"We feel that speed was a factor in this particular case. He lost control, crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming vehicle."
Paramedics rushed Cardenas' wife Suzette and their three young children to a local hospital.
"They're a really nice family," said Mayra Mendoza.
She lives next door to the Cardenas, and says the loss is surreal.
"Actual waiting for her to get back, so I could give her, her Mother's Day gift," she said of Suzette.
But knowing what may have caused the crash, is already causing her to reflect.
"I'm usually in a hurry to go pick up the kids from school, and I guess I should just follow the speed limit," she said. "It's horrible. It's horrible news."
Sheriff Estrada tells 9OYS his department is waiting on toxicology reports.
He says all those injured are in stable condition.