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People killed in major crash on U.S.54 identified

Michael Issa and his fiancée, Mariah Bernardez were killed in a crash along U.S. 54 Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Credit: Cali Kimari)

Police identified the driver and passenger killed in a two-vehicle collision along U.S. 54 Sunday.

Michael Issa, 23, and Mariah Bernardez, 24, died at the hospital, according to El Paso police

Issa and Bernardez were in the Honda Civic involved in the crash.

Bernardez is accused of driving erratically, according to police.

Police said Bernardez swerved right across the dirt median along U.S. 54 and struck a center cable divider, knocking down two poles and the cable. The Honda she was driving then headed westbound across two other lanes at

the same time a 2013 Chevrolet, driven by Christian Rivera, 21, was northbound in the center lane of U.S. 54. The Chevrolet collided with the Honda, police said.

Police and special traffic investigators said the road was shut down for nearly six hours Sunday. The Honda Civic was completely crushed and the Chevrolet Silverado truck involved had damage on the front end.

Police said the two vehicles crashed just after noon on the U.S. 54 access road at the Pershing Drive exit.

"It's dented all the way to the driver side. From the back to the front,” area resident Lucila Olivas said, describing the smaller car.

Traffic investigators determined Bernardez's failure to control speed is what caused the crash.

U.S. 54 was blocked off from the Montana on-ramp, down the access road, to past the Pershing exit. It opened back up after 6 p.m. Sunday.

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