Cops say victim could not avoid death

February 5, 2008 6:07:52 PM PST
A woman's SUV was crushed by a steel container that fell off the back of a truck Monday. Eyewitness News has learned the driver of that truck may have made a mistake that caused that fatal accident.

Late this afternoon, police released the name of victim, Haydee Mendez.

The wreck happened yesterday in Pasadena on Red Bluff at a railroad overpass. Police say the driver has admitted missing this sign. It's about 1,200 feet from the train trestle warning of its 14'1" clearance. Police say the load that hit the trestle yesterday was 14' 9" inches too tall.

Police say Haydee Valdez Mendez, 30, could not have done anything to avoid being killed yesterday.

The married mother of two young children was eastbound underneath the train trestle on Red Bluff near North Witter when the truck carrying the vessel slammed into the trestle, causing the vessel to jar loose and crush the SUV Valdez Mendez was driving.

Police say a truck driver with a similar load, driven by the same company, HAC, a short time prior, learned of the shorter clearance and took another route to its destination at nearby Pasadena Refining.

Police say Pasadena Refining had even warned that first driver to avoid the trestle. It's unclear if the driver in this second truck ever got word of that warning and if he did, why it wasn't heeded.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office says commercial drivers are held legally to a higher standard when it comes to these types of cases. If police determine that the driver of the flat bed knew, or should have reasonably known his load was too tall for the trestle, the DA's office says a charge of negligent homicide could be in order. Right now no one is charged with any crime.

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