At 9:15 a.m. on October 16, 2012 Magnolia Fire Department responded to a reported major accident with a vehicle fire. When they arrived on the scene they found a Ford F150 fully involved in fire and had just exploded. Next to it was a 1993 International Flatbed loaded with sheetrock.
As the fire was brought under control firefighters discovered the burned bodies of Francisco Cantu, 28, of Rosenburg and Marshall Rebeles of Rosenburg. Rebeles was originally identified as Jonathan Candalaria,of Rosenburg, but after DPS Troopers made contact with the family they were informed he had been using a false name to avoid paying income taxes.
The driver of the flat bed, Wilson Alberto Avelar, 31, of 6310 Dumfries in Houston was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Woodlands. His passenger Danny Vladmir Rivera, 29., of Houston was also transported to the same location in stable condition.
According to DPS Sgt. Fountain , Juan Jose Carrizales, 60, of 28536 FM 2978 was southbound on FM 2978 and with his turn signal on was waiting on the Ford F150 which was northbound on FM 2978 to pass so Carnizales could turn into his driveway. At the same time another vehicle went to the right around Carrizales and passed. Behind that vehicle was the flatbed which applied his brakes and unable to stop swerved into the northbound lane clipping Carrizales vehicle and hitting the Ford F-150 head on.
FM 2978 was closed for 7 hours as the investigation continued. It reopened just before 4pm.
The driver of the flatbed, Avelar, was arrested and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on two counts of Criminal Negligent Homicide. Avelar had a standard drivers license and has been cited numerous times for not having a commercial license.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation. DPS also dispatched their helicopter to the scene for aerial photographs.
On Tuesday Avelar plead to two counts of criminal negligent homicide and was sentenced to two years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-State Jail.
According to Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Vince Santini the range of punishment for this charge ranged probation to two years in State Jail. Santini said back in the 90’s the charge was a misdemeanor but was changed. Santini said a commercial drivers license holds a driver to higher standards than a standard drivers license. This is due to the fact a driver must be familiar with the vehicle, securing loads, braking systems, and many other obligations to operate the vehicle safely.
Santini said Rebeles was a former 15-year-police officer and also served in the military. Cantu was Rebeles cousin and was expecting his first child at the time he was killed.