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Two die after loaded van crashes

Thursday, February 13, 2003

CARTHAGE, Mo. -- Two people were killed early Wednesday when a van filled with 12 people went off a highway near Carthage and overturned.

Juan Mercado and Angelica Abad, whose ages and hometowns were unavailable, died in the accident on Interstate 44 near Carthage, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.

At least 11 people in the van were believed to be illegal aliens being transported from Phoenix to Michigan, Patrol Lt. Terry Moore said.

The investigation has been turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The driver of the van, Ramirez Anastacio, 32, had a Florida driver's license.

\The INS is investigating to see if it was valid, Moore said.

Five other people in the van were seriously injured, while three others were treated at Joplin hospitals and turned over the INS, the patrol said.

The accident occurred when the van ran off a road, went down an embankment, hit a creekbed and overturned, the patrol said.

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