SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Department of Public Safety said Wednesday the accident near Tyler on Dec. 28 in which four people were killed was caused when the driver of a GMC truck pulled into the path of a Peterbilt.
The collision occurred at 11:25 a.m. at of FM 757 and FM 2767 eight miles east of Tyler. The initial report was that three people had died.
A report indicates that the driver of a 2017 GMC Sierra, Juan Manuel Villanueva, 26, Overton, was going south on FM 757, failed to yield the right of way and pulled into the path of the Peterbilt going east on FM 2767, the DPS said.
Villanueva was transported to UT-Health – Tyler and remains in serious condition.
A passenger, Sara Vasquez, 53, Overton, died at the scene. Her daughter, Bianca Villanueva, 13, of Carlisle, and two boys, 15 and 17, all who were passengers, also were killed.
The driver of the Peterbilt, John Paul Wilkins, 53, Gladewater, is in serious condition in UT-Health – Tyler, the DPS said.
The crash remains under investigation.
A GoFundMe account has been created to raise money for the funeral expenses of Vazquez and Villanueva.
According to Sandra Sanchez, who created the GoFundMe, the family was already making funeral arrangements for their grandmother who had passed away on Dec. 26.
“The family is short on money. Anything will help. Please pray for the family, it is very much needed,” wrote Sanchez.
The page has raised more than $2,400, and their goal is $30,000.
Villanueva was also a student at Carlisle ISD and the district shared a message on social media on Tuesday.
“All of the Carlisle community is saddened by the sudden death of Bianca Villanueva. It is at a time like this that reminds us all how precious life is,” Carlisle ISD wrote.
People can donate to the GoFundMe here.
Carlisle ISD placed the following on its homepage.
“All of the Carlisle community is saddened by the sudden death of Bianca Villanueva. It is at a time like this that reminds us all how precious life is. Today and in the days to come, as our Carlisle Students and Faculty grieve the loss of our friend and student, there will be counselors available to help anyone who needs assistance in dealing with this loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Villanueva family. Our hearts ache with theirs. Please join us in lifting this family up in prayers now and during the difficult days ahead.”