ANNONA (AP)– Eight people, including a mother and her three children, were killed Friday when two vehicles collided on a remote stretch of East Texas highway and burst into flames, authorities said.
A Chevrolet Malibu traveling eastbound on U.S. 82 in Annona crossed the center line and struck a westbound Chrysler 300 driven by Sonia de la Torre of Annona, Department of Public Safety Trooper Sylvia Jennings said. De la Torre, 29, and her 8-year-old daughter Erica, 6-year-old son Saul Jr. and 10-month-old son Eric all died.
Eric Wright and Curtis Derelle Sanders, who were in the Malibu, were killed. No ages were available for the two men. Two other occupants of the Malibu who were not identified also died.
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Authorities said Wright and Sanders were from Compton, Calif. Their Malibu had been rented in Tulsa, Okla., but Jennings said she did not know when the rental took place. Wright was listed as having rented the vehicle and Sanders was named as a backup driver.
Authorities were not sure who was driving the car at the time of the collision, why it crossed the center line and why the two vehicles burst into flames.
A motorist who was passing by discovered the cars in flames and called authorities just before 11:30 a.m. Friday. Jennings said authorities believe the accident happened several minutes earlier.
She said there were no witnesses. Investigators spent hours at the site Friday trying to determine what happened.
The wreck occurred in a remote area near a large curve in the highway about a mile from Annona, a town of less than 300 people about 150 miles northeast of Dallas. Authorities said U.S. 82 was closed for more than four hours.