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Fatal Accident on I-70 Involves Illegal Aliens


CareFlight of St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction transports four accident victims.

A 1996 Nissan Quest Mini-van crashed on I-70 on Sept. 22. A call came into the Emery County Dispatch at 8:19 a.m. The van carrying 11 people rolled when the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel. The driver and the passenger in the front were the only ones not ejected from the vehicle and they were belted in. Eyewitnesses reported the driver fled the scene of the accident heading south through the desert.

The van traveling east towards Green River went off the left shoulder of the road and the driver overcorrected and went off the left shoulder again where the vehicle rolled several times.

Trooper Michael Bradford reported the driver was a coyote bringing illegal aliens into the country to work. The trip originated in Phoenix and was headed for a job in Georgia at the time of the accident. The van had North Carolina license plates. The Utah Highway Patrol has no idea as to the identity of the driver.

The van rolls several times and nine passengers are ejected.

Those injured in the accident included: Berta Aroyza, 18 with head injuries, Rafael Garcia, 15, torso injuries, Alexi Lopez, 23, head injuries, Georgino Epitacio, 37, head injuries, German Perez, 24, torso injuries, Amado Onofre, 22, walking wounded, cuts and bruises, Alejandra Carrillo, 21, head injuries, Pascual Zamorano, 41, head injuries, Armando Zamorano, 28, head and brain injuries. Veronica Solis, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Trooper Bradford reported that four patients were transported by Careflight to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction. Two patients were transported by fixed-wing from the Green River airport to St. Mary's Hospital. Four patients were transported by ambulance to St. Mary's Hospital. The injuries were listed as critical, but the patients are recovering. It was reported that when the patients are released from the hospital the Department of Immigration will transport them back to Mexico. Five of the individuals in the accident were reported to be cousins. Green River ambulances and fire department responded to the accident.

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