Three Tongans killed in crash

New Mexico Police Statement:

New Mexico State Police Officers were dispatched to a single vehicle roll over on US 550, mile post 85. As a result of this crash, three subjects were declared deceased upon arrival of Officers.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears as if the vehicle was traveling southbound on US 550.  The driver, Siaosi Uhatafe (18) of Euless, Texas was traveling south and drifted off the road on the passenger side.  Mr. Uhatafe over corrected back to the right, causing the vehicle to lose control and roll several times.   The group was traveling back to Texas from Salt Lake City Utah.

Two of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle, while the third stayed lodged in the vehicle.

The three deceased subjects have been identified. They are: Andrew Uhatafe (13) of Euless TX; Gaius Vaenuku (18) of Euless TX; and Polo Manukainiu (19) of Euless TX.

Mr. Siaosi Uhatafe (driver) and Salesi Uhatafe Sr. (father) were transported to the San Juan Medical Center in Farmington, New Mexico with minor injuries. Siaosi Uhatafe, the driver of the vehicle, was the only subject utilizing his seatbelt.

Furthermore, it appears as if the three deceased victims were not utilizing their seatbelts.

Our thoughts go out to the victims’ families during this tragic event.

-From staff and wire reports. Kate Hairopoulos contributed to this story.

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