Brownsville teacher, students among victims of fatal Victoria crash

The passenger van involved in a three-vehicle crash Saturday, July 20, 2019, that left five dead and seven injured sits on U.S. 59 in South Texas. Multiple people traveling in the passenger van were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Seven people total were injured. (Shelby Miller/The Victoria Advocate via AP)

A weekend accident near Victoria that killed five Brownsville area residents included a long-time Brownsville Independent School District employee and relatives of a teacher at El Jardin Elementary.

Monday morning superintendent Rene Gutierrez extended his condolences on behalf of the district to Edna Rodriguez, a third grade bilingual teacher at El Jardin, whose husband and two children, a 13-year-old girl and six-year-old boy, were killed in the accident. One child survived.

The three car accident also killed Nora Gabriela Chavez and her husband.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says the crash happened around 11 a.m. Saturday on U.S. 59, five miles northeast of Victoria.

Sgt. Ruben San Miguel says investigators are trying to determine why the northbound van, filled with the Brownsville families, hit the left rear of a northbound semi pulling a flatbed trailer. The van then struck a southbound pickup truck. Five others in the van were injured.

The pickup driver and a passenger were hospitalized in serious but stable condition. The driver of the semi wasn’t hurt.

DPS says visibility was clear and the road was dry.

The Victoria Advocate newspaper is reporting the families were traveling from Brownsville to Galveston for a cruise

A family friend told the newspaper the van’s driver, Nora Gabriela Chavez, and a passenger, her sister Edna Veronica Hernandez, had taken their families on a similar vacation at this time last year.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)