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Fatal truck crash kills 14 immigrants

In a tragic highway accident, a pickup truck overloaded with illegal immigrants veered off the road, crashing into trees in rural South Texas. There were at least 14 dead and nine injured, according to authorities. According to authorities, the driver was one of the deceased found at the scene. A Ford pickup carrying 23 passengers was heading north on U.S. 59 when it drove off the right side of the highway and crashed into two trees in Berclair, about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio.

The truck crashed less than a hour away from the site of the nation's most deadly immigrant smuggling case after 19 immigrants died in a sweltering trailer. Six of those dead at the accident were still inside the cab of the vehicle and one was in the truck's bed when emergency crews arrived at the scene. Others were scattered along the roadway and in a ditch between the pavement and the fence. There were at least two children among the dead.

Federal immigration agents are looking into the human smuggling aspect of the case while state public safety authorities are investigating the cause of the accident. The truck was registered to someone other than the driver. Authorities are reconstructing the accident to determine the cause of the accident and identify all responsible parties. Agents were looking to confirm the identities of the victims and investigate the possibility that they had been smuggled into the United States.

Many immigrants do not realize that they also have the right to pursue personal injury claims after injury or the wrongful death of a loved one. Families of victims and those injured may be entitled to significant compensation for their personal and financial losses. In addition to civil liability, those involved are likely to face federal criminal charges.

Source: The Associated Press, "14 dead after truck crashes in Texas," Christopher Sherman, July 23, 2012.

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