Passenger Dies on Cruise Ship Excursion

In a heartbreaking and eerie coincidence, an American tourist from Texas who traveled to Belize on a cruise has been killed in a vehicle accident.

Lake Highlands resident Carolyn Gillis, 77, died Thursday in a single-car crash in Belize City when the driver of a red Ford Freestyle van lost control of the vehicle and flipped it several times. Gillis was thrown through the windshield; she died instantly.

It was the second time this week a vehicle crash in Belize claimed the lives of American tourists.

“News of her death today has been like a tsunami across Like Highlands and this church,” Mark Wingfield, associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church, told WFAA. “There’s a tremendous loss. Believing in eternity does not mute the pain of this moment.”

The crash happened about 3:45 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day on the Phillip Goldson Highway near Carmelita, Belize, police said. She was traveling in Belize with six family members on a Royal Caribbean cruise aboard the Liberty of the Seas.

Family members were also on the land excursion. Her husband, Dallas attorney John Milton Gillis, 79, suffered a cut to his right ear, an abrasion to his left hand and bruises to his right arm, according to the police report obtained by WFAA.

Their son, John Milton Gillis, Jr., 45, suffered an abrasion to his left arm. His wife, Lynette, 43, got an abrasion on the right side of her back and cuts to her lower left knee. Their twin daughters complained of pain to their necks and head and their 13-year-old son had an abrasion to his right ankle and both knees.

The driver of the vehicle, Henry W. Gillett, reportedly said his vehicle flipped after a tire blowout. Local police obtained a urine sample and served him with a “Notice of Intended Prosecution,” according to the police report.

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