At least 5 die when SUV crashes after being chased by Border Patrol, then deputy, Texas sheriff says
A vehicle carrying undocumented immigrants flipped Sunday, ejecting 12 people and killing at least five in south Texas, Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd said.
Four people were killed at the scene and a fifth person died at a hospital in San Antonio, the sheriff said.
Border Patrol agents began chasing the vehicle around noon before a Dimmit County sheriff’s deputy took over the chase, west of Big Wells, Boyd said. The vehicle, which was traveling around 100 mph, ran off the road onto the gravel before flipping several times when it tried to get back on the roadway, the sheriff said.
The crash occurred 45 to 50 miles from the Mexico border, Boyd said.
“We’ve seen this many, many times, in not only this county but other counties along the border,” Boyd said. “It’s a problem. … This is, I think, a perfect example of why our borders need to be secure.”
‘We need a wall’
Boyd said there were 14 people in the vehicle. Authorities believe the driver and one passenger are US citizens.
Local law enforcement were familiar with the driver, who was in the area last week to either pick up undocumented immigrants or the scout, the sheriff said.
The other 12 passengers were undocumented immigrants, Boyd said.
Boyd said the victims were taken to local hospitals. Six patients were taken to San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio, Lt. Edwin Roberts said. He would not confirm if any of the patients had died.
The sheriff said he didn’t know where the immigrants were from but said most migrants who travel through the area are from Central America or Mexico.
He said his deputies are often involved in chases pursuing people suspected of smuggling undocumented immigrants and drugs.
“I think we need a wall, in my opinion,” he said, voicing support for President Donald Trump’s proposal to construct a border wall with Mexico.
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.”
Footage from a motorist who witnessed the crash and posted video to Facebook shortly after shows at least four bodies on the ground, the mangled Chevrolet and several Border Patrol vehicles at the scene.
Yolanda Choates, a US Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman, directed questions to the Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office.
When asked why Border Patrol agents started the chase, Boyd said, “It’s called good police work.”
By AnneClaire Stapleton and Darran Simon, CNN