Local News

Trio killed in head-on Beltline wreck remembered

Posted May 26, 2008 11:56 a.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2008 4:38 p.m. EDT

— 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.