Upinderjit Minhas and his wife Jasleen are shown in a photo from Upinderjit’s Facebook profile page. Three members of a Calgary family are dead and three others are injured after a highway crash during a trip to visit relatives in Texas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Upinderjit Minhas MANDATORY CREDIT

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Three generations of a family were on their way to visit relatives in Houston last week when their minivan and a semi-truck collided head-on, killing three and injuring four others.

Texas authorities say the van carrying six members of the Minhas family from Calgary appears to have drifted into oncoming traffic Saturday morning northwest of Amarillo.

Upinderjit Minhas, who was driving, died in hospital, as did his six-year-old son Mehar Partap. The man’s mother, Nirmal, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Minhas’s wife, Jasleen, and daughters Mehakdeep, 10, and Japuleen, 8, were taken to hospital. The mother and her eight-year-old suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the girl was released.

The eldest daughter was gravely injured with broken bones all over her body and remains in hospital in Lubbock, Tex.

The 57-year-old truck driver was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

“It’s very hard to accept this,” Harcharan Parhar, whose brother-in-law is married to one of Upinderjit Minhas’s sisters, said Tuesday.

RELATED: Former Humboldt Bronco and family die in car crash

The family was in Texas to visit Jasleen Minhas’s parents in Houston, Parhar said.

“I believe their plan was to fly over there. But then they decided instead of flying, why don’t they go by van and then they can visit other places, because they had two weeks?”

Upinderjit Minhas would have turned 39 on Tuesday, said Parhar. Minhas came to Canada from India when he was a teenager and studied at DeVry University in Calgary.

He had a job with a financial firm that took him all around the world.

“He was a very intelligent boy,” said Parhar.

He described Nirmal Minhas as a ”very nice, very polite lady,” who was always happy and smiling.

Parhar said he’ll always remember Mehar Partap’s curly hair and smiling face.

“He was a very cute boy.”

Parhar said he spoke to Jasleen Minhas on Tuesday and she said she doesn’t remember anything after the van and truck collided with a bang because she was unconscious.

“What happened, nobody knows,” he said. “Something happened suddenly in seconds.”

He said several relatives have flown to Texas from Calgary and Toronto.

RELATED: Motorcycle driver dies in a head-on collision near Oliver

Sgt. Dan Beusing with the Texas Department of Public Safety said the collision occurred on a two-lane secondary highway, which was dry at the time. He said the sun is unlikely to have been in the driver’s eyes at that hour.

“From the witness statement of the driver of the 18-wheeler, the minivan just turned into his lane,” Beusing said.

“Of course he doesn’t know what happened, but he said it looked like someone may have fell asleep.”

He said state troopers are investigating, but won’t question the mother until she is ready.

“It’s a tough thing to start asking questions at this point. It might be a while before they get a chance to interview her some more.

“It’s just a really, really tragic event.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey woman’s ‘tell-all’ book aims to help those struggling with domestic violence

Second book details abusive marriage, how people failed her

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner bids farewell in tearful State of City Address

Outgoing mayor announces Director of Housing, looks back at Surrey’s evolution, and pokes fun at her ‘media missteps’

ZYTARUK: Hepner, to her credit, rose to the occasion

She could have used her last address to make political digs, pitches and slights. She did not.

Supportive housing opponent says 110-year-old document should prevent development

Proposed site for Cloverdale project is on land gifted to city by Joseph Shannon in 1908

VIDEO: Story surrounding new playground at Surrey hospital a real ‘tear-jerker’

Dad began planning after his son had surgery in Surrey and he saw too many sad faces

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read