Monday, June 21, 2004

Four killed in crash returning from Cuba

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - The family of four Kentuckians killed in a Florida accident says the group was returning from visiting relatives in Cuba.

Mariela Mendivil, 40, was driving north on Interstate 75 five miles south of Jasper on Friday when her station wagon struck a guardrail and came into the path of a tractor-trailer, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Also killed were Gladys Rodriguez Serafin, 39, and two of Mendivil's sons, 14-year-old Daniel Viscaino Mendivil and 5-year-old Nelson Valdez Mendivil.

Rodriguez Serafin's daughter, 12-year-old Zuemy Alvarez, survived the crash. The truck driver, from Tennessee, suffered minor injuries, police said.

Lt. Mike Burroughs said Mendivil was wearing a shoulder restraint but that none of the passengers was wearing a seat belt.

Mendivil's other son, 19-year-old Carlos Acosta, said the trip was his mother's first since emigrating from Cuba nine years ago. She visited her parents and other relatives in Santiago, said Acosta, an Army private based at Fort Campbell.

Rodriguez Serafin's niece, Yoaris Ledesma of Louisville, said she was taking her daughter to visit her father in Cuba after being in the United States for almost three years. The two were divorced.

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