The car spun and its left side smashed into a tree on the right side of the road, with its nose pointing into a watery ditch and its trunk toward the road, according to the ministry report. Photos of the car made public Wednesday showed the main impact was on the left read door.
Payá was sitting on the left rear seat and Cepero on the right rear seat, and neither of them had buckled their seat belts, the Interior Ministry said. Modig was on the right front seat.
Payá died instantly from head trauma while Cepero died in Bayamo’s Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Hospital from an “acute respiratory insufficiency” brought on by a blood clot caused by a bone break in his left leg.
Three passersby who claimed to have witnessed the crash were quoted in the Interior Ministry report as telling police that they saw the vehicle speeding as it hit the stretch of dirt road.
“The car passed me at a high speed. For sure it was going more than 60 miles per hour. It passed a tractor that was going in the same direction, and then I saw a tremendous cloud of dirt,” José Antonio Duque de Estrada, an employee of the National Institute for Hydraulic Resources, was quoted as saying.
Tractor driver Lázaro Miguel Parra Arjona was quoted as saying that the car passed him “at a high speed. Then I saw the big cloud of dirt and when the cloud dissipated I saw the car impacted on the tree.”
Carromero and Modig, both 27, reportedly went to Cuba to deliver assistance to dissidents. Carromero is a youth leader of Spain’s ruling Popular Party, and Modig is president of the Youth League of Sweden’s Christian Democratic Party, part of the country’s ruling alliance.
Payá’s widow, Ofelia Acevedo, said he tried to take advantage of the European’s trip to eastern Cuba to visit dissidents there.
The Interior Ministry report said the group left Havana at 6 a.m. Sunday and crashed nearly 500 miles away and eight hours later after three stops — an average of more than 60 miles per hour on Cuba’s notoriously bad roads.