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Trio killed in head-on Beltline wreck remembered

Posted May 26, 2008
Updated May 28, 2008

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— Two families spent Memorial Day remembering two brothers and a family friend who were killed early Sunday in a head-on collision on the Interstate 440 Beltline.

Guillermo Zintzun Jimenez, 26, Dagoberto Zintzun Jimenez, 21, and Santiago Pascual Tellez, 14, were killed at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday when a van that police said was heading the wrong way on the Inner Beltline collided head-on with the Lexus sedan driven by Guillermo Jimenez.

The van was westbound in an eastbound lane and collided with the Lexus near the on-ramp from Capital Boulevard, police said. Dagoberto Jimenez and Tellez weren't wearing seat belts, police said.

Relatives said the Jimenez brothers and Tellez, a family friend, were coming home from a party when the wreck occurred. Tellez, a student at East Wake Middle School, was supposed to come home earlier with his brother, but he wasn't ready to leave the party when his brother did, relatives said.

"My mom is crying. My dad, everybody is crying. We're going to miss him because he was a nice kid," said Blanca Pascual, Tellez' sister. "He liked school. He liked basketball and soccer."

"They're not taking it real good. They're really upset," Jesse Pachceco, the Jimenez brothers' uncle, said of the brothers' parents. "All of us, you know, were real close, and it's really hard for the family to take what happened to them."

The van driver, Francisco Javier Martinez, 30, of 1925 Village Squire Circle in Knightdale, was injured in the wreck. He was listed in good condition Monday at WakeMed.

Police said Martinez would be charged with three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, two counts of felony serious injury by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, driving the wrong direction and no operator's license upon his release from the hospital.

A search of court records shows he had no previous DWI arrests but had been charged before with no operator's license.

Police reports indicate Guillermo Jimenez hadn't been drinking before the wreck.

Two other occupants of the Lexus, Jose Canuto Canuto, 24, and Louis Alberto Canuto, 21, both of 3216-C Calumet Drive in Raleigh, also were injured in the wreck. Jose Canuto was listed in good condition Monday morning at WakeMed. Louis Canuto was treated at the hospital and released Sunday.

Both of those men were wearing seat belts, police said.

The Jimenez and the Tellez families said they hope to bury the three in their native state of Michoacan, Mexico. Both families moved to the Raleigh area 10 years ago.

By Monday evening, at least five people in central North Carolina had been killed in Memorial Day weekend wrecks. During the 2007 holiday weekend, 19 people were killed and 707 injured on North Carolina.

56 Comments

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  • moncha2003 May 28, 2008

    ok so if the Hispanic community needs to be held accountable for all the hispanic drunk drivers then all of the "Americans should be held accountable when Americans drives drunk"?

  • Frank Downtown May 27, 2008

    Hispanics need to be educated about driving rules and regs - just like the charcoal grill issue that was a problem years ago. Public agencies got the word out not to use grills to heat and I haven't heard about a death since. We need to do the same about driving and drinking - but of course, this driver had no driver permit and has had a DWI before.

  • WRALSUCKS May 27, 2008

    "what do you mean by your comment "until the Hispanic community is held accountable"?

    Here's a hint. Either the Hispanic community will clean up it's own problem, with the disproportionate amount of DWIs it provides, OR someone else will do it for them/you.

    Your community has a choice. Either way, it will be solved.

  • mireyes May 27, 2008

    ConcernedNCer- what do you mean by your comment "until the Hispanic community is held accountable"? I would really like to know what you mean by that and what your plan would be. I am a member of the Hispanic community here in Raleigh. I am also getting my PhD and don't drive drunk. So my question to you is, by your standards should be held accountable?

  • ConcernedNCer May 27, 2008

    The "legality" of the VICTIMS isn't the question, the driver of the van is the one I am concerned about...how many INNOCENT victims have to die before the Hispanic Community is held accountable for their drinking/driving and KILLING record.

  • jamesgirl May 27, 2008

    Considering how sad this story on all counts I can vouch that the trio killed in the accident were indeed legal. How shocked was I to look at the news yesterday to see my ex-coworker face on the TV confirming he was killed. Dberto (wral wont accept his name) was an ex-employee of Sears @Triangle Towncenter. If you frequented the store, you probably seen him there. He was a very kind young man, and he had a strong christian faith. What I remember most about him was that he never stopped smiling (it was on-going) and he could get over twenty credit applications in a day. He was awesome. You just couldn't turn down that winning smile. He will be missed.

  • IDontCare May 27, 2008

    HAGGIS BASHER: Actually the only people who died in the wreck were the guys who didn't wear a seatbelt, the two survivors had theirs on.

  • IDontCare May 27, 2008

    Not trying to be mean but hopefully some of our prominent Hispanic leaders will come together and offer an intervention for this drunk driving epidemic going on within their culture. Yeah I know everyone drunk drives but the stats in Raleigh don't lie! Maybe they will be more inclined since the killer and the victims were all Hispanic.

  • chfdcpt May 27, 2008

    Drunk driver gets on the wrong side of the highway. He thinks he is on the right lane, when in fact he is on the left lane. Driver on the right way of the highway is going to swerve to the right, which is natural because it will get you away from the concoming drunk driver.

    The drunk driver, will swerve to the left, thinking that he is on the "right" lane, thus swerving back in front of the oncoming car.

    Explanation I was given that long ago, when I was on the streets.

  • jkca May 27, 2008

    Not being familiar with the layout of the beltline myself, at 4:30 am , I might not have been aware that the oncoming vehicle is coming up the wrong side of the lane/road either....until it's too late.

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