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The cause of a one-vehicle rollover crash on U.S. 59 north of Hungerford Sunday that killed three El Campo women remains a mystery.

Department of Public Safety troopers are attempting to reconstruct the accident, but, as of press time, they didn’t know why the black 2015 Kia Optima’s driver swerved onto the shoulder of U.S. 59 southbound about a mile and a half north of Hungerford. Evidence shows after that, the driver lost control and drove off the roadway. The vehicle cleared the railroad tracks, rolling into a heavily wooded area.

All three women were ejected from the car, so it’s unknown whether Briana Hernandez, 20, her 18-year-old sister Bianca Hernandez or their aunt Miranda Deases, 19, was driving. None had been wearing a seat belt.

Losing Touch

A concerned family member posted a social media plea Sunday asking for help. No one had heard from the three since 2 a.m. Sunday, after they reportedly attended an event at the Eleven Eleven Night Club on Austin Street in downtown Houston. The posting says the women did not have their phones with them at that point.

Images posted on social media at 6:34 p.m. Saturday show Bianca Hernandez, dressed for a party, riding in the backseat of a vehicle. Neither of the other women are visible. Two now haunting four-second videos show her flouncing her hair and glancing toward the camera.

“They are lovely girls. Briana and Bianca babysat my boys. They became family,” Stephanie Yates told the Leader-News. “Briana was really into make up and wanted to become a make up artist. Bianca, we call her ‘B,’ was undecided. But she did want to go to college. Bianca was wise beyond her years in many areas. Bianca and Briana are super out going. The have huge hearts.”

The Yates family moved, but the Hernandez girls stayed in touch.

“They were so special, what other girls their age FaceTime once/twice a week kids they don’t baby sit any more? They loved them,” Yates said. “We lost some diamonds.”

Lost Girls

The crash site is not visible from the roadway, especially not in the black of night on a section of largely unlit highway.

“A person from the railroad discovered them,” DPS Spokesman Sgt. Stephen Woodard said Monday.

Emergency responders were called to the location at 5:30 p.m. on Halloween, but there was nothing they could do to help the three.

Wharton County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Glenn Russell was called to the scene. He pronounced the three deceased and ordered autopsies which are being conducted by the Fort Bend County Medical Examiners Office.

Unable To Locate

It’s thought the crash may have happened before 4 a.m., as the three were traveling from Houston to El Campo, but no one’s certain.

The Wharton County Sheriff’s Office received one 9-1-1 call around 3:37 a.m. that may have involved the women’s vehicle or it could have been an entirely different event.

“The caller reported that she witnessed a vehicle, ‘Run in to the ditch,’” WCSO Capt. B.J. Novak said Tuesday, adding the caller turned around and to find the wreck but could not.

“She informed dispatch that it was somewhere, ‘Before the Hungerford sign.’ One of our patrol deputies responded,” Novak said.

The deputy arrived in the area at 3:45 a.m. and checked the area from the Love’s Truck Stop in Hungerford to the Fort Bend County Line multiple times until 4:38 a.m. when the deputy returned to service.

“He was unable to locate the vehicle,” Novak said, adding the department receives similar calls often. “In many cases, the driver/vehicle are gone before our unit arrives on scene. This call came in as a, ‘vehicle in the ditch’ and not a major accident, so there was good reason to believe the vehicle was gone prior to the deputy arriving.”

Found

The sheriff’s department received the second call referencing a wreck at 5:25 p.m. Sunday.

“Wharton County Sheriff’s Office Telecommunications received a call from Kansas City Southern Railroad in reference to a deceased person being on the railroad tracks near Hungerford WCSO Units and DPS responded and located a vehicle (a small, black passenger car) and three deceased female bodies near the railroad tracks in the area of U.S. 59 and CR 214,” Novak said.

“The vehicle was located behind some brush/trees adjacent to the railroad tracks and was very well hidden. Even in the broad daylight, no one called in the vehicle or the deceased persons until nearly 14 hours after the initial call for service,” he said, adding, “Our hearts break for the families of the three deceased women. They were so young and had their whole lives ahead of them.”

A GoFundMe account “Funeral Costs for Briana, Miranda, and Bianca” was established by Skie Gonzales seeking $15,000 to cover the funeral expenses for the three. As of press time, in excess of $7,000 had already been donated.

“It is with extremely heavy hearts that we are asking if y’all can find it in your hearts to please donate so we can lay these three beautiful girls to rest. As one is very heartbreaking enough ... we have suffered a huge loss with these three girls,” she said.

Services for the three are pending at Triska Funeral Home, but dates and times can’t be set until they are released by the medical examiner’s office.

“It’s tragic. These were beautiful young ladies – gone too soon. They were so full of life, always smiling, just enjoying their time,” Elisa Garcia said.

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