Continuance sought in Mexico van crash suit

By David Yates | Jun 22, 2011

Toyota HIACE van

Plaintiff Jacqueline Ward recently filed a motion for continuance in a case centered on the deadly auto crash in Mexico.

As the Southeast Texas Record reported in May 2009, the families of two educators killed in 2008 when their van flipped into a ravine in Mexico respectively filed suits against the school district, the driver, the maker of the van and others.

The Beaumont Independent School District and Region 5 Education Service Center were dismissed from the wrongful death suits in January 2010, leaving Toyota Motor Corp. and Hipolito Lopez Ramos as the last remaining defendants.

The motion for continuance was filed April 11, stating that discovery is still ongoing, court records show.

Denise Wenzel, Dorothy Gray, Gary Gray and Linda Cook were participating in a teacher immersion program in Mexico in May 2008. The trip had been arranged and paid for by BISD and Region 5, court papers state.

On May 22, 2008, the group was traveling on winding, mountainous roads in an HIACE Toyota van driven by Hipolito Lopez Ramos.

"While rounding a curve, two of the van's wheels lifted causing the driver to lose control throwing the van off the side of the road into the ravine, killing Denise Wenzel," court papers say.

Dorothy Gray was also killed in the collision, and Gary Gray and Cook were severely injured.

A year later, Jaqueline Ward, Gary Gray and Linda Cook filed separate lawsuits May 19, 2009, in Jefferson County District Court individually and on behalf of all wrongful death beneficiaries of Denise Wenzel and Dorothy Gray.

Curtis Leister of Reaud, Morgan and Quinn in Beaumont represent the plaintiffs.

Case No. D184-119

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