Investigators Say Teen's ATV Likely Plunged Off Cliff

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POSTED: Monday, May 16, 2011 - 4:39pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 7:51am

Two Teenagers Killed, One Hospitalized in Critical Condition

UPDATE: 5:30 p.m.: The third victim involved in an ATV crash has been identified by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. 

EPCSO said 17-year-old Romney Vasquez, of El Paso, was killed when their ATV plunged between 25 to 30 feet in a washed out section. They fell through the crevice and landed at the bottom. 

Stay with ktsm.com for further updates.

UPDATE:  3:14 p.m. Alexis Reyes, 16, of Socorro died in the ATV crash. Felipe Reyes, 16, of El Paso remains hospitalized. A third passenger who died is not being identified at this time.

EL PASO – Two teenagers were killed, and another was seriously hurt, when the all-terrain vehicle they were on most likely plunged off a cliff in Far East El Paso, said El Paso County Sheriff's Deputies.

At first, Sheriff's Deputies thought the three teens may have been lost in the vast desert area behind the Socorro Activity Complex.

Someone called 911 to report the teens missing around 2:30 a.m. and the search began.

"According to family members the teens were riding all day on Sunday and they were last seen around 8:30 last night," said Jesse Tovar, spokesman for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's deputies started a ground search for the missing teens while a search was conducted by the CBP Office of Air and Marine via a helicopter. The darkness and huge search area made it challenging for rescue teams. 

"With the help of Border Patrol we were able to find the teens about an hour later at 3:30 a.m. Unfortunately two of the teens were deceased on scene,” said Tovar.

Paramedics rushed the surviving teen to the hospital in critical condition.

Deputies said none of the teens were wearing a helmet.

Now detectives are trying to figure out what caused the crash, but said it was most likely a tragic accident.

“It's likely that the teens were driving their ATV in the dark desert area when they drove off a cliff," according to Tovar.

He said they were all younger than 16 years old.

Their identities are being withheld until next of kin can be notified.

Deputies say this horrible tragedy should serve as a warning to teens and parents not to ride ATV's at night.

“It's very risky doing it at night because of the steep cliffs and rough terrain out there. Please have your protective gear like goggles, helmets and reflectors," said Tovar.

Stay with ktsm.com for updates on this still developing story.

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