Conroe, TX Head On Collision, Oct 1997


Conroe (AP) - Five relatives and a friend were killed in a head-on crash early Saturday when their car began speeding past other cars in a no-passing zone, state police said.
Two young men in the other vehicle were hospitalized in critical condition. All of the victims lived in Conroe.
It was not immediately known whether alcohol was involved in the wreck, said Sherri Deatherage Green, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. The roads were dry and the sky was clear.
Three of the young men in the first car, a 1991 Oldsmobile, were brothers. One was a brother-in-law and one was a cousin.
The cousin, 19-year-old MIGUEL BAHENA, was driving. He was heading west on Texas 105 in Cut and Shoot, 40 miles north of Houston, when he began crossing into the oncoming lane to pass other cars, Ms. Green said. She said he was driving at "a high rate of speed" but she didn't know how fast.
While it was in the wrong lane and at the crest of a hill, the Oldsmobile smashed into a 1986 Chevy being driven by SANTIAGO RAMIREZ, 20, Ms. Green said.
All six in BAHENA'S car - who ranged in age from 16 to 27 - were declared dead at the scene after the 2 a.m. crash.
Joel Vaena of Conroe said three of the victims were his brothers: ADAN CONTRERAS BAHENA, 23; JOSE JUAN BAHENA, 22; and RAMIRO VAENA, 27. JOSE CRUZ LOREDO, 16, was ADAN BAHENA'S brother-in-law. LOZARO QUINTERO, 22, was their friend.
RAMIREZ and his passenger, a 19-year-old man whose name could not immediately be verified, were in critical condition at Houston's Hermann Hospital.
Joel Vaena said he was asleep when a friend called him around 4 a.m. about the accident. He drove to the scene but was not allowed to see the bodies. He said the men had told him they were headed to a bar when he last saw them.
"I just cried," he said. "I'm feeling real bad."
The brothers who died were illegal immigrants from Mexico, Joel Vaena said. Two of the men worked as electricians, one as a plumber, one as a landscaper, one in construction and one with tiles. Four of them lived in the same trailer park in Conroe.
Vaena said he had not yet reached his parents in Mexico to tell them that three of their 10 children were dead. Friends and family members in Conroe were collecting money for funerals.
"We're trying the best we can," Vaena said.
ADAN BAHENA had a wife and three children who live in Mexico.
"I can't believe it," Maria Antonia Banena, QUINTERO'S 22-year-old common-law wife, said with teary eyes. "I don't know what to think."

Del Rio News Herald Texas 1997-10-19