Five undocumented immigrants killed in crash following car chase by U.S. Border Patrol agents
Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd raised concerns regarding the immigrants, saying there needs to be a wall built along the border as this is a 'real problem.'
Five undocumented immigrants were killed in a crash following a chase by Border Patrol agents on Sunday afternoon, according to authorities.
The said accident happened off Highway 85 in Big Wells at around noon, according to Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd. He said that the SUV lost control and overturned when agents were chasing the vehicle. At the time of the crash, the vehicle was reportedly traveling at more than 100 miles per hour, reported CNN.
Including the driver and passengers, there were fourteen people inside the SUV. Boyd said that twelve immigrants were ejected upon impact and four of them died at the scene. A fifth individual died later after being rushed to a nearby hospital. Six others were taken to San Antonio Military Medical Center and the remainder were transported to local medical centers. Among those taken to the hospital was the driver, who is reportedly a citizen of the United States.
Lt. Edwin Roberts did not confirm if any of the patients had died.
When asked as to why the deputies started the chase, Boyd said, "It's called good police work."
US Customs and Border Protection released a statement saying a border patrol agent in Carrizo Springs identified three vehicles traveling one behind the other and suspected a smuggling attempt at around 11 am. While the agent was able to stop one of the vehicles, he radioed out a description of the other two. Subsequently, another agent was able to pull over the second SUV but the last one refused to obey his orders.
Immediately after, a Dimmitt County Sheriff's deputy took over the chase just west of Big Wells, but the vehicle, which was traveling around 100 mph, lost control, ran off the roadway before flipping several times, landing on the highway, according to Boyd.
"Border patrol was pursuing a vehicle, a Chevrolet Suburban, and one of my deputies assisted and took over the pursuit just west of Big Wells," Boyd said. "The vehicle was traveling around 100 miles per hour and from what we could tell the vehicle ran off the road, caught gravel, then tried to recorrect and that caused the vehicle to turn over several times."
Multiple arrests were made in both vehicles, the agency reported.
As of now, one of the passengers, believed to be a U.S. citizen, is under arrest.
The County Sheriff raised concerns regarding the immigrants, saying there needs to be a wall built along the border as this is a "real problem."
"This is not unusual, absolutely not," Boyd said. "We've seen this many many times, not only in this county but in other counties along the border. It's a problem. This is, I think, a perfect example of why our borders need to be secure. It endangers American lives as well as those people from Mexico and other countries coming here for whatever reasons they are coming."
The sheriff further said that local law enforcement authorities were familiar with the driver, who was spotted in the area last week as well, trying to either pick up undocumented immigrants or to scout for some.
Boyd even said that while he did not know the origin of the immigrants, he asserted that most of them who traveled through the area are either from Mexico or from some other part of Central America.
The sheriff claimed that his deputies often encounter people suspected of smuggling undocumented migrants and drugs and said that such pursuits were highly common.
“It’s really, really busy here,” Boyd said. “Every day my deputies are getting into pursuits, every single day.”
"I think we need a wall, in my opinion," he said, voicing support for President Donald Trump's proposal to construct a wall along the border with Mexico. “I think we need more boots on the ground, we need more patrol."
Boyd added: "If it can be built, I think it needs to be built. But along with that, there needs to be cameras. There needs to be sensors."
At least four bodies are seen lying on the highway in a footage captured by a motorist who witnessed the accident and posted it to Facebook shortly after. The video also shows several Border Patrol vehicles at the scene along with the crushed Chevrolet SUV.
A US Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman, Yolanda Choates, directed all questions to the sheriff's office.
Currently, the incident is being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility, and the US Border Patrol, the agency said in a statement.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those who died in the crash,” the United States Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.
Meanwhile, border arrests have jumped to their highest levels since Trump took office. U.S. border agents made more than 50,000 arrests in May for the third month in a row, according to The Washington Post.