Argentina's Transport Minister Mario Meoni has died from serious injuries after his overturned in a road-traffic accident on Ruta Nacoinal 7, according to local media.
Meoni, 56, was driving near to San Andrés de Giles, Buenos Aires Province, when the accident took place.
Earlier in the day, he had been in Rosario, where he attended various meetings with President Alberto Fernández and Santa Fe Province Governor Omar Perotti They group had discussed agreements on ports, rail services and other infrastructure investments. One of the planned projects was an expansion of Rosario’s the public bicycle system to create a network of safe routes for cyclists.
The minister was travelling alone in an official car from his portfolio, a Ford Mondeo, and was reportedly on his way to Junín to see his family.
According to initial reports, he lost control of the vehicle at around 9.30pm near Kilometre 112. It is believed he crashed into railings and the car overturned. The cause of the accident is unknown.
A former mayor of Junín from 2003 to 2015, elected under the UCR's banner, Meoni was known as one of the so-called “K Radicals” who were co-opted by the Kirchner presidencies in the 2000s.
Meoni later Sergio Massa’s dissident Renewal Front from 2013, where he remained until following the lower house speaker into the Frente de Todos coalition in mid-2019.
On his website, he talked about growing up as the son of a highway employee and a housewife. He started working at 15 as a glass cleaner at a cafe.
A father of two boys and happily married, he was sworn into President Alberto Fernández's Cabinet on December 10, 2019, taking on the position of transport minister.
"With great sadness I have received the unwelcome news of Mario Meoni's death, our Government's Minister of Transport. With him we lose a complete, tireless and honest politician. An exemplary official. With sincere regret, I accompany those who like me have loved and respected him," said President Alberto Fernández in a post on Twitter.
The president was due to attend the late minister's funeral in Junín on Saturday.
"Dismayed by the death of Mario Meoni. Today we were together with Alberto Fernández and other colleagues from the Cabinet in Rosario. Like every Friday he returned to Junín," wrote Defence Minister Agustín Rossi. "Huge coworker. Great guy. Huge sadness. A hug to his family."
“Great sorrow over the death of Mario Meoni. A great man has left. Dedicated, passionate, a good person and a better father. I want to remember him like this, working together. I hug his family and close friends,” said Vicente López Mayor Jorge Macri .