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Accident on way to funeral kills three

Sunday, November 20, 2005

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Three Illinois residents driving to a family funeral in Texas were killed late Friday when the car they were riding in was struck and tore in half by a tractor trailer.

Springfield Police Lt. Jay Huff said Ruby G. Espino, 64, of South Chicago Heights, Ill., was heading to a brother's funeral in Wichita Falls, Texas, when the 1990 Cadillac she was driving crossed the median and was hit by the truck.

The crash occurred about 11:49 p.m. on Interstate 44, about a half-mile west of the Kansas Expressway, according to police.

Also in the vehicle was Espino's brother Larry H. Garcia, 78, and his grandson, Luciano Garcia, 15, both of Chicago Heights, Ill.

All three people were pronounced dead on the scene.

The truck driver was not reported injured and no charges were pending against him.

Police said there was no immediate indication why Espino crossed the median.

The crash closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 44 for hours.

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