Vehicle Fleeing Border Patrol in Texas Crashes, Leaves Five Dead
Border Patrol agents had been in pursuit of the black Chevrolet Suburban, which was traveling about 100 miles an hour
At least five people died Sunday when a Chevrolet Suburban carrying them rolled over and crashed on a Texas highway while fleeing the U.S. Border Patrol and local officials, authorities said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said it was investigating the crash, which occurred at 11:18 a.m. local time outside of Big Wells, Texas. There were 14 people in the Suburban, including the driver, according to the department.
Video of the scene by the local television station KSAT-12 showed the large, black vehicle was severely damaged, blocking both lanes of the rural stretch of highway.
Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd told reporters at the scene that Border Patrol agents had been in pursuit of the Suburban, which was traveling about 100 miles an hour.
“The Border Patrol was pursuing a vehicle and one of my deputies assisted in the pursuit, and took over the pursuit just west of Big Wells,” Mr. Boyd told KSAT-12. “From what we could tell, the vehicle ran off the road and caught gravel and then tried to re-correct and then caused the vehicle to turn over several times.”
Multiple people inside the Suburban were ejected as the vehicle rolled, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Four people died at the scene, four were taken to San Antonio Medical Center for treatment, and six were taken to the Dimmit County Regional Medical Center, according to the department.
One of the four taken to the San Antonio hospital later died, the department said.
The driver of the vehicle was found by deputies inside the vehicle and was able to walk following the crash, Mr. Boyd told KSAT-12.
The driver is now in custody with Homeland Security Investigations, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In a statement, the Border Patrol said the chase began after an agent spotted “three vehicles traveling in tandem pass his location on a rural highway” and the agent suspected that “a smuggling event was taking place.”
Two of the vehicles stopped and arrests were made from each vehicle, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. The third vehicle fled and then crashed shortly after.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those who died in the crash,” the Border Patrol said.
High-speed chases aren’t uncommon in some U.S. states bordering Mexico, as smugglers and others attempt to flee checkpoints and outrun the Border Patrol.