EL PASO, Texas -- An alleged drunk driver has been arrested and charged with causing a head-on traffic collision on Loop 375 that claimed the lives of a mother and her young son, El Paso police said Sunday.
The deadly crash involving two vehicles, one of which was traveling the wrong direction, happened around 8 p.m. Saturday along Loop 375 west near Bowie. The collision shut down the highway for several hours as investigators sorted through the wreckage.
Police on Sunday morning said they had arrested a driver who was injured in the crash and being treated at a local hospital, charging 73-year-old Juan Martinez with two counts of intoxicated manslaughter. Martinez will be booked into the downtown jail once he's released from the hospital, police indicated.
Investigators said Martinez was driving his SUV in the wrong direction, eastbound, on Loop 375 west when he ran head-on into a car carrying three people.
Authorities indicated 6-year-old Jose Luis Wences was killed instantly, while his mother who was driving, 25-year-old Elide Yvonne Garcia, died a short time late at a hospital. A passenger in the car with the boy and his mother, Alberto Cuellar, remained hospitalized Sunday in critical condition.
An eyewitness to the deadly crash, who called 9-1-1, said that his car was almost hit head-on by the alleged wrong-way drunk driver too.
"I saw him. I took a quick second (and) swerved out of the way. He passed us at highway speeds, he wasn't slowing down. We didn't get hit, (but) right after we called this in," Daniel Bernal told ABC-7.
The deaths of the mother and son were the 64th and 65th traffic fatalities of the year compared to 64 this same time last year, according to police data.