Teen tragedy: 5 die in fiery Texas crash
At the intersection of the two country roads, charred debris lies strewn
haphazardly. The earth around it is scorched for yards around.
It is here, in this corner of Dumas, Texas, that a sports utility vehicle
slammed into a gas tanker Sunday afternoon. The tanker's flammable cargo
sent both vehicles up in flames, seriously injuring the truck driver
and killing all five passengers in the Chevy SUV.
All of those who perished were teenagers.
The crash, coupled
with another tragic one in Warren, Ohio, the same day, highlighted yet
again how motor vehicle wrecks continue to be the No. 1 killer of youths
in the United States.
accidents took the lives of about a quarter of 15- to 24-year-olds who
died in 2010, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
They significantly outpaced the other top culprits: firearm wounds, homicides, suicides and accidental poisonings.
A fatal mistake
wasn't quite clear where the teens were headed in the SUV when,
authorities say, the driver, 16-year-old Jacob Paul Stipe, decided to
ignore a stop sign.
It was a fateful mistake.
the SUV entered the intersection, an oncoming truck smashed into its
passenger side, CNN affiliate KFDA reported, quoting authorities.
died at the scene. So did the four passengers with him: October Dawn
Roys, 17; Elizabeth Kay Roys, 15; Derrek Lee Hager, 17; and Christopher
Lee Moore, 17.
The truck driver, Ezequel Melecio Garcia, was airlifted to a hospital burn unit in Lubbock.
Best of friends
The teens were inseparable, said Star Tovar, assistant manager at the local Dairy Queen.
"It was always them together, all five of them always together," she told CNN affiliate KVII.
Chris was a new member of the clique, who had recently moved to the area.
Elizabeth and October, who went by the nickname Toby, were sisters. October leaves behind a daughter who will be 1 soon.
Their parents, Robert and Sheryl Roys, wept as they spoke to the affiliate.
"They changed hair color every month," Robert Roys reminisced, smiling for a moment.
going to be hard not having them around because they were there all the
time. I love them with all my heart and they'll always be here, in my
heart," added his wife, Sheryl.