Six Deaths Blamed On Truck Driver
LABELLE, FL. -- On July 14 Florida Highway Patrol investigators filed charges stemming from a traffic crash that claimed the lives of six men from Immokalee. The crash occurred on September 29, 2008 at the intersection of S.R. 29 and S.R. 78 in Glades County, just north of the Hendry County line.
A 2005 Peterbuilt tractor trailer, driven by Ewing Saunders, was westbound on S.R. 78 approaching the intersection of S.R. 29. Saunders did not stop for the stop sign and entered the intersection colliding with a northbound 1993 Chevrolet van driven by Jose Saavedra. Saavedra and all five passengers were pronounced deceased on scene by paramedics.
A blood sample was obtained from Saunders and sent to FDLE for analysis. Testing revealed a blood alcohol level of .110. In Florida the presumed impairment level is .08. Saunders has been charged with six counts of DUI Manslaughter (2nd degree felony) and DUI Property Damage (1st degree misdemeanor).
The passengers of the Chevrolet van were; Sergio S. Zalazar, Oscar H. Reyes, Rigoberto R. Perez, Jose M. Arellano and Lucas R. Saavedra. Arellano was the right front passenger. The rest of the occupants were ejected and their locations within the vehicle are unknown.