Deputies: A&M cadets, driver die in wrong-way crash

Fiery collision survivor before surgery: 'I'm just thankful'

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - The lone survivor of a fiery wreck that killed three people, including two Texas A&M freshmen cadets, spoke on Monday about the head-on collision.

18-year-olds Miguel Hernandez and Amy Pacheco died early Sunday when they became trapped inside Pacheco's fully engulfed Ford Explorer. 

Pacheco's boyfriend, Francisco Campos was also in the SUV, but managed to escape and survive.

Local 2 spoke with Campos just moments before he went into surgery at Memorial Hermann Hospital to repair a fractured vertebrae.

"I don't remember anything about the crash," Campos said over the phone. "I just remember getting pulled out of the fire. I'm just thankful."

Extra grief counselors were at Northbrook High School Monday, where Miguel Hernandez had just graduated with honors, and at Chavez High School, where Pacheco attended.

The two helped judge a high school JROTC competition that day, HISD officials said.

"These kids came back specifically to be a judge at the drill meet," said Cornell T. McGhee, director of HISD's JROTC. "(I worked) with those young people on Saturday. So to get a call later on that morning that they had passed away is quite shocking.  These kids were doing the right thing. They were good kids."

McGee said he has known Pacheco since she was a freshman in high school.

"(Amy) was a great kid," McGhee said. "When you saw Amy, she always had a smile on her face and she was always focused, determined. She was one of those kids that you want your daughter to be like."

Katie Thomas, 21, of Deer Park was driving the wrong way along Highway 290 when she slammed head-on into the SUV carrying the teens, investigators said. Thomas also died at the scene. 

Sgt. Susan Cotter with the Harris County Sheriff's Office said alcoholic beverages were found inside Thomas' Ford Mustang.

According to court records, Thomas had been in trouble with the law before. She was sentenced to probation in 2010 after charges of theft and possession of marijuana.

Funeral services are pending. McGhee said the two cadets will be honored at a JROTC ceremony next month.

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