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Oct 10, 2017

Tragedy on the highway: two women, one child killed in collision with U.S. diplomat

We often report on traffic accidents – they have become a staple in our newscast – but the one we will tell you about tonight will move you – it is a tragic accident that claimed the lives of three members of a family. A mother, her daughter and her sister-in-law all died on Saturday evening when a vehicle crashed head on into their vehicle. The only survivor – a six year old – who lost her mom, sister and aunt. The family was heading home after a day at their family business at the Old Belize. Several reports are that a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction driven by a US diplomat was allegedly speeding and tried to overtake a vehicle that was getting off the highway. But upon overtaking, the pick-up truck slammed into the SUV, driven at the time by Samantha Castillo, causing it to flip off the highway. The victims all received massive head and body injuries and the little girl survived with both legs broken. The family is devastated and trying to hold together the pieces- late this evening we spoke with the brother of Marta Vasquez. Andrea Polanco put together this report on the fatal accident.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

It’s a tragic end to what was a quiet and calm day for the Castillo and Vasquez families. They lost three members of their family in tragic road traffic accident. Twenty three year old Marta Vasquez, her eighteen month old baby girl Deanna Castillo & her sister-in-law thirty-year-old Samantha Castillo died here at mile three and a half on the George Price Highway on Saturday sometime shortly before four in the afternoon. Vasquez’s other daughter six year old Angelique Castillo is hospitalized with two broken legs.


Tulio Escobar, Brother of Marta Vasquez

Tulio Escobar

“On the way by the dump site, they had this accident where this vehicle was overtaking a truck and it was a direct impact to them where this tragedy happened. We get to find out it was a US diplomat. We don’t know who this person is but we are saddened by this tragedy. We are trying to – we are mourning. The family is in big problems right now with this. We are just trying to support the family and support my mother who is taking a big hit; and my sister’s husband he is devastated. So, we are grieving right now.”


It is an unimaginable tragedy for the family – Vasquez was with her common-law-husband at their business at Old Belize – she left before him and was heading home in this SUV with her sister-in-law at the wheel – but this truck heading in the opposite direction – driven at the time by US diplomat Justin Guidry – was allegedly speeding and overtaking and so collided head on into the SUV and sent it flipping off the highway. Vasquez’s body was thrown from the vehicle –she died at the hospital; her baby girl and sister-in-law died almost instantly.


Tulio Escobar

“Eyewitnesses are reporting that the truck was speeding-he was moving very fast. He decided to overtake this truck on a curve. He couldn’t make it to over pass this truck and that is when my sister was coming with her family and it was a direct impact. There was not even time to brakes or anything like that.”


Andrea Polanco

“Did the vehicle flip or anything like that?”



Tulio Escobar

“The vehicle flipped twice in the air before touching the ground. As soon as it touched the ground, my sister was flung about fifteen to twenty feet away into the water. She fell into a muddy pond and when my brother-in-law, he was behind them, he came there and assist. He couldn’t find my sister. They took out the baby – she was dead on impact. His sister – she was dead too on impact.”


Escobar says that they were told Guidry was taken to the hospital in another vehicle. They are really hurt and disappointed that he didn’t try to help the family on the scene of the accident – he has not made any contact with them since the accident. They were told that he, Guidry, was flown out of the country:


Tulio Escobar

“That is what hurts the most because he didn’t have no heart to render assistance; seeing people there. He didn’t have no heart to come in and assist. He has not even gotten in contact with the family. We understand that he has already been flown out of the country – which is – you know. God takes care of everything.”


Escobar says their family cannot move on from this heartbreaking tragedy – three family members with dreams and hopes for the future were taken away in an instant.


Tulio Escobar

“We cannot move on with this one. It is just too hard for the family. The baby died. She died and the next sister-in-law died. We have one niece who survived. She is our comfort that she is the only last piece remaining of my sister. Right now when she woke up she is asking for her mother. How could we let her know where her mother is; where her baby sister is. It is very hard for us to answer to those questions.”


Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.


The driver of the pick-up truck, Justin Guidry has diplomatic immunity and won’t be facing charges. Today the US Embassy sent out a note of condolence to the family. In Wednesday’s newscast we will share more of the heartbreaking interview with Escobar.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Tragedy on the highway: two women, one child killed in collision with U.S. diplomat”

  1. We Want Justice says:

    This is a tragic story, my heart goes out to this grieving family. I hope they have sought legal advice and realize that unless this man is an actual ambassador (which he does not appear to be) yes he is protected from criminal prosecution as a member of the Embassy’s ‘Administrative and Technical staff’ BUT he can still be sued civilly. I know money is no replacement for human lives lost, but the man shouldn’t just walk away like nothing happened.

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