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DPS: Tire Likely Cause Of Deadly Texas Truck Crash

Texas Dept. Of Public Safety

Investigators continue the difficult task of trying to identify 14 suspected illegal immigrants who were killed when a pickup truck packed with nearly two dozen people crashed in South Texas during an apparent smuggling run.

State authorities believe that a pickup truck's front right tire came apart, likely causing the vehicle to veer off a rural highway and crash in South Texas, killing 14 suspected illegal immigrants.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Gerald Bryant said Tuesday that a preliminary investigation indicates layers of the tire had separated.

Bryant would not say if the tire was old and worn, nor if the separation was a manufacturing issue. He did not name the tire brand.

The truck packed with 23 people crashed Sunday evening near Goliad, about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio. Nine remain hospitalized.

Investigators are working to identify the victims who they say are from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.


More factors joined drought to kill Texas trees

A forestry expert says the 2011 Texas drought weakened trees but dehydration was likely not why millions of trees died.

Eric Taylor is a forestry specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Taylor says in most cases trees that died likely were already stressed from environmental factors, such as overcrowding, age and compacted soil. Taylor also says inappropriate use of herbicides could have contributed to tree deaths.

Taylor says lack of water may be the trigger, but many trees likely died from excessive heat, insect damage and diseases.

The Texas Forest Service last December announced a preliminary estimate of up to 500 million trees killed by the drought. Crews have spent the last two months doing ground surveys for a more specific drought count.


Man's gun fires in Dallas Walmart, 4 slightly hurt

Investigators say a man and three bystanders have been slightly hurt when his gun accidentally fired at a Walmart store in Dallas.

Police say 23-year-old Todd Canady of Waco was booked Tuesday on an evading arrest charge. Police say Canady will also be charged with injury to a child. Two youngsters were slightly hurt by bullet fragments.

Police say Canady was checking out Monday night when he reached for his wallet, the gun fell and went off. Authorities say Canady suffered a minor leg wound, while a woman and two children were struck by debris from the ricocheting bullet.

Police say Canady, who ran from the store but was caught, has a concealed handgun permit.

Online jail records did not list an attorney for Canady, who's held on $1,000 bond.


UTMB to manage medical for US Antarctic Program

Health experts in Southeast Texas have been chosen to manage medical operations for the United States Antarctic Program.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston on Tuesday announced its latest affiliation with the program.

Former NASA astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski will be chief medical officer for the new Center for Polar Medical Operations at UTMB.

The school will work for the National Science Foundation as a subcontractor on Lockheed Martin's Antarctic support contract. UTMB's initial contract runs through September 2016.

The school has been providing telemedicine services for the Antarctic program for more than a decade with a previous contractor. The new arrangement will have expanded health-related operations, including for seasonal field camps and two marine research vessels.