EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The driver of the speeding semi that crashed and overturned on top of roadside food stands in Villa Ahumada, Mexico, has been charged with 10 counts of homicide, injuries and property damage.
The man publicly identified only as Saul A.D. was driving at “immoderate speed and under the influence of psychotropic substances” when he lost control of his Kenworthy 18-wheeler in the bus-stop town 90 miles south of Juarez, Mexico, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
A judge has set a Wednesday morning hearing to determine if the suspect will stand trial on the charges. Saul A.D. will remain in custody until convicted or cleared, the AG’s Office said.
The Sept. 7 crash claimed the lives of five employees of a cooperative of burrito and quesadilla vendors who set up their stands under a roof a few feet away from the Pan-American Highway (Mexico 45), which runs straight through Downtown Villa Ahumada. Authorities said that the overturned trailer also crushed an independent roasted-crickets vendor, a window washer, and three customers.
Most of the victims were buried over the weekend in Villa Ahumada while grieving coworkers and family members demanded that state authorities rein in the hundreds of trucks and passenger buses that drive through the town in excess of the 22 miles per hour limit every day.
The Attorney General’s Office said the driver passed through the town around 5 p.m., struck a Nissan Versa and a Toyota Hiage before leaving the road and striking parked cars. The truck’s trailer and some of the vehicles struck hit the food stands and crushed vendors and customers under the roof of the Union de Vendedores Benito Juarez cooperative and the patio of a restaurant.
The AG’s Office did not specify if Saul A.D. is an independent trucker or if he works for a trucking company.