A 51-year-old Corpus Christi driver was killed on impact Thursday morning when an SUV smashed into the rear of his car near a construction zone on U.S. 59.

Pedro Xavier Pena was pronounced dead by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Robert Whitaker, who has not requested an autopsy. The driver’s 47-year-old wife, Kathleen Yanc Pena, of Corpus Christi, was riding in the car as a passenger, said Sgt. Ruben San Miguel, Department of Public Safety spokesman.

As of 7:30 p.m., San Miguel said he did not yet know the severity of injuries suffered by the survivors in the wreck.

A 2004 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Victoria resident Ralph Edward Law, 41, crashed into the Penas’ 2018 Ford Fusion as they slowed − almost to a stop − for traffic near the construction zone, San Miguel said. Troopers are investigating why Law failed to stop and will determine whether to issue him a citation.

A third vehicle, a 2009 Nissan Titan pickup, collided with Law’s Suburban after the initial impact, San Miguel said.

Authorities were notified of the wreck by a caller about 11:10 a.m., he said.

At the wreck, located between Telferner and Victoria on U.S. 59 near Beck Road, Victoria County sheriff’s deputies secured the scene, blocking and rerouting westbound traffic down Midway Road for at least two hours. Eastbound traffic also was slowed.

Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached jwilcox@vicad.com or 361-580-6515.

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Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

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