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Two Victoria residents killed, five injured, in one-vehicle wreck near El Campo

By BRANDON LEONARD
May 25, 2009 at 12:25 a.m.


EL CAMPO - Howell Middle School Principal Debbie Crick called teachers ahead of time Monday to let them know one student had been injured and another killed in a Sunday-night crash.

"I know this kind of tragedy will be very hard for our student body," Crick said. "They're both star athletes, very well-liked, popular young ladies."

Howell students Alyssa Burleigh, 14, and Maddie Barham, 14, were traveling with Maddie's family and a friend just outside of El Campo Sunday when the family's 2001 Chevrolet Suburban left U.S. Highway 59 South to the right and struck a guard rail, causing it to go into a side skid, Department of Public Safety Trooper Christopher Champion said.

The Suburban then skidded off the overpass, rolling several times and coming to rest underneath the overpass.

The group was coming back from a family gathering in Houston and shopping in Katy when the crash occurred.

Champion said he was not certain what caused the driver, Garrett James Barham, 17, Maddie's brother, to drift to the right.

Alyssa and Douglas Gene Barham, 47, Maddie's father, were pronounced dead at 8:41 p.m. Sunday by Justice of the Peace Cynthia Kubicek.

A total of seven people were in the vehicle.

Garrett James Barham was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. He was listed in stable condition with leg injuries, according to the report.

Passengers Maddie, Chase Weaver, 11, and Maritia Kay Barham, 46, all of Victoria, were also taken to Memorial Hermann. They were listed in stable condition with internal injuries and possible broken bones, according to the report.

The other passenger, Carson Barham, 11, was taken to El Campo Memorial Hospital. He was in stable condition with cuts and bruises, according to the report. A hospital spokesman would not release an update on his condition Monday.

Seatbelts were worn by all in the vehicle, except possibly Douglas Gene Barham, Champion said. Barham was the only one thrown from the vehicle, Champion said.

"We will have additional counselors on site tomorrow at Howell tomorrow for staff and students who need someone to talk to about this loss," said Diane Boyett, communications specialist for Victoria school district.

Alyssa was the second Victoria school district student to die over the holiday weekend.

Joseph Garcia, 14, was struck by a car while riding a bicycle Friday evening. He died Saturday in a San Antonio hospital.

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