Five people were killed in a two-vehicle accident at around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 77 and Business 77 north of Sinton.

Department of Public Safety troopers said a Chevrolet suburban pulling a small six-foot box trailer was traveling south on Highway 77. It was occupied by the driver and eight passengers. Troopers said while the vehicle was at the top of the overpass over Business 77, the driver went off the roadway to the left, falling and crashing head-on into the road below. The SUV then burst into flames.

Five occupants were pronounced dead at the scene, and four other passengers were transported to Northshore Hospital in Portland with non-life-threatening injuries.

The victims were all part of a caravan of families traveling from the Dalton area in Georgia to Mexico for the holidays.

"It was a very big loss," Patricia Rodriguez-Camarena said. She was in that caravan ahead of the vehicle that crashed. It was a caravan of six similar vehicles, all headed to the Mexican city of Guanajuato, just southeast of Mexico City, for a two-week vacation.

The Camarena's were traveling just a few minutes ahead of the ill-fated SUV.

"We found out what happened after getting a call from one of the survivors who told us the truck had crashed," Camarena said. "So we turned around and came back, but we didn't see anything."

A follow-up call from the survivor-led the Camarena family to the Northshore Emergency Center in Portland where four of the survivors were taken. They were treated and released.

They were the fortunate ones, but as for those who didn't survive the crash.

"There was one young lady; two women, both senior citizens; one man, also a senior citizen; and one young man," Camarena said.

Camarena said the families had planned the trip to Mexico all year long, saving their money with hopes of spending the holidays with loved ones.

"We are saddened, and our deepest condolences to those who survived," Camarena said.

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