EL PASO – The young woman was found lifeless, inside her Pontiac Solstice, submerged in the Franklin canal under 10 feet of icy, cold water.
According to police, Corina Bejarano, 21, was driving at high speed on Saturday October 23, 2010 at approximately 1:30 a.m. with her headlights off, when she missed a curb, drove off the Cesar Chavez Highway and flew over two embankments of railroad tracks into the canal. She remained under water for more than four hours before police pulled her out.
Bejarano’s death is just one of thousands of fatalities that happen every year in Texas.
According to the Texas Peace Officers Crash Report (click here to download the report), 2,793 traffic accident deaths were reported in Texas in 2009. The number of deaths had declined by 11 per cent in 2009, but that number is on the rise. There have been eight deaths in the first 20 days of 2011 in the city of El Paso. Only three took place in January 2010. Eleven fatalities have occurred here in the first two months of 2011.
According to Deputy Jesse Tovar, a spokesman for the El Paso County Sheriff’s department, “sometimes we feel that because we are deemed one of the safest cities drivers avoid precautions.” Tovar said there is no scientific explanation for the increase in car-accident fatalities, adding that if drivers would make smarter decisions a majority of accidents could be avoided.
The intersections with the most collisions in the city of El Paso were Joe Battle and Montwood, Gateway East and Lee Trevino and Gateway West and Yarbrough, according to the city police department.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, most collisions are a result of speeding, failure to yield, driving under the influence of alcohol, following too closely, and running red lights and stop signs. Tovar said they have also linked factors like fatigue, falling asleep, to the upsurge in fatalities. Government officials are more focused now on the protection of those on the road as they continue to spread awareness of the dangers involved.
Tovar noted that local law enforcement departments are promoting a prevention campaign called “Arrive Alive.” In this campaign, law enforcement agencies in El Paso, DPS, DPT and school districts will work together for 12 consecutive months in an effort to provide more safety for drivers.
Another campaign encourages the use of safety belts among young drivers by giving testimonials and displaying wrecked vehicles.