Rain and a wet road may have contributed to a crash Wednesday morning on Interstate 35 that killed the driver of an SUV and his passenger, Lorena Police Chief Tom Dickson said.

Emergency responders were called to southbound I-35, near mile-marker 322, at about 11 a.m. when the driver of a 2003 Ford Explorer lost control of the SUV. The car left the roadway and crashed into a concrete pillar that was holding an overhead interstate sign, Dickson said.

The driver, Jose Oscar Rivas, 25, of Waco, was pronounced dead at the crash site. His passenger, Rosa Isela Zepeda, 34, of Eddy, was also pronounced dead. Both occupants were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, Dickson said.

Southbound lanes of the interstate remained closed for more than two hours as police and emergency responders cleared the roadway.

Dickson said the crash remains under investigation, but police believe the wet conditions may have been a contributing factor.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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