EL PASO, Texas - El Paso Police said all lanes on Loop 375 East at Paseo del Norte are now open after a fatal crash that involved three vehicles Wednesday morning. Police said the crash was a result of road rage.
The crash happened around 5:50 a.m. Wednesday on Transmountain Road in the westbound lanes near the Paseo Del Norte exit.
Police said a 2008 Hyundai Elantra driven by 27-year-old Jonathan Perez was heading west on Transmountain in the left lane followed by a 2013 Dodge Challenger driven by 64-year-old Carlos Hoyos.
Police said Perez stopped the Hyundai in the left lane and Hoyos pulled up in the Challenger right behind Perez's vehicle. "Both drivers exited their vehicles and confronted each other," police said in a news release.
41-year-old Jose Solis remained seated in the front right seat of the Challenger, which was then rear-ended and pushed out of the roadway by a 2011 Camaro, which then struck the Hyundai Elantra.
Police identified the driver of the Camaro as 31-year-old Nidia Ugalde. Solis, the passenger in the Challenger, was transported to University Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. Ugalde was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
"This should've never happened. Tragically, an innocent person lost their life because two people decided that it would be a good idea to stop on the lanes of travel at 5:50 in the morning," El Paso Police spokesman Enrique Carrillo said.
The crash closed the westbound lanes of Transmountain for over five hours, but it is now open.
Police urge the public to not engage in this type of behavior.
"If the occasion does arise where you find yourself in an incident where somebody is trying to engage you in some kind of road rage, an argument, or disagreement, ignore that other person," Carrillo said. "It's not personal. This is a person that most likely you don't know and you'll never meet again."
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2016 there were 1,327 crashes caused by road rage across the state. Five of those crashes were fatal.
"We see this whether you're on the internet, or you're behind the wheel of a car, when you feel anonymous or you feel insulated, is when peoples' ugly sides generally come out," UTEP psychologist Dan Jones said. "Especially when they feel entitled to engage in that particular behavior."
Jones said if you're a passenger in a vehicle where the driver is engaging in that type of behavior, the best thing to do is to remind them of what's really important.
"I think the best thing to say is 'this is not worth it. this is not worth it. So what? You're right, the person's wrong,'" Jones said. "There's no way to fix what the other person did on the road, but there is a way to make it worse."