The Fourth of July holiday weekend took a tragic turn in east El Paso when two people died in an early morning vehicle crash.
The wreck happened around 2:15 a.m. Sunday on the 1600 block of North Zaragoza. According to El Paso Police spokesman Darrel Petry, the two victims were both men – the driver and passenger in a gray 2006 Chevrolet Aveo.
42-year-old Bruno Gonzalez was the driver of the Aveo, while 42-year-old Jaime Mercado was the passenger in the front seat.
The two were headed south on Zaragoza when Gonzalez made a U-turn. Police say he crashed into a silver 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by 39-year-old Sergio Montoya, who was headed north on Zaragoza.
The front of the Dodge Ram hit the right side of the Aveo, killing both Gonzalez and Mercado.
In a strange twist, Montoya fled the scene in his pickup truck. Off-duty law enforcement officers were able to stop him a short time later, and he was arrested for fleeing the scene of the accident.
According to Petry, police believe alcohol played a part in the crash, but speed did not appear to be a factor. Gonzalez and Mercado were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
Authorities charged Montoya in the crash and set his bond at $100,000.
This crash brings the traffic death toll in El Paso to 36 this year.