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Three dead, one injured in SHSU car crash

Assistant News Editor

Published: Saturday, December 14, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 16:01

Three students are dead and a fourth is in the hospital after a single-car accident occurred on Sam Houston State University’s main campus in Huntsville, Texas Saturday morning.

Blanca Espinal, 19, Eric Torres, 22, and Alfanso Mata, 20, were confirmed by university officials as the students that died in Saturday’s crash at the corner of Bowers Blvd., and Avenue I. Thomas Roling, 22, was rushed to Huntsville Memorial Hospital and is now in stable condition.

According to SHSU spokeswoman Julia May, university police received the call around 4:50 a.m. and responded immediately. Roling was admitted into Huntsville Memorial Hospital just after 5 a.m., according to hospital officials.

“Our Bearkat Family is deeply saddened by the loss of our students in this tragic accident,”SHSU president Dana Gibson said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to their family and friends during this difficult time.”

SHSU students were notified at 8 a.m. through the university’s safety alert system, Katsafe, with the main routes to campus closed until 9 a.m.

The accident tore hand rails out of the ground at the intersection with Academic Building IV suffering minor damages. Photos of the scene show a vehicle propped against the building face-down with debris scattered about the grassy knoll outside the building. Handrails were found flung nearly 50 feet away from the building.

Espinal’s parents confirmed with ABC News Houston affiliate KTRK that the 19-year-old was the driver. Espinal lost control of the car, university police officials said, and crashed into the Academic Building IV located at the corner of the intersection.

Initially university officials mistakenly told reporters Roberto Rodriguez Guerra of College Station was one of the deceased victims when in fact Mata was improperly identified, according to UPD Chief Kevin Morris.

Saturday’s accident preceded graduation ceremonies scheduled for the afternoon, however SHSU assured graduates and families the investigation would not interrupt the ceremonies.

UPD is currently investigating the details of the accident. 

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