ICE called after 15 discovered in van on I-44 near Eureka; Police search for driver

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EUREKA, Mo. - Over a dozen people were taken in for questioning after a traffic stop on I-44 near Six Flags St. Louis.  They were discovered in a van after a driver and passenger ran from the scene.

Officers attempted to pull over a vehicle on eastbound I-44 near the Six Flags exit Thursday morning.  The driver and a passenger ran from police during the incident. The Missouri Highway Patrol was able to find one of the occupants who fled on foot but is still searching for the other person who ran from the vehicle.

Police discovered 14 men and 1 woman in the vehicle.  They did not have any identification and did not speak English. The people found in the vehicle have been taken in for questioning by police. ICE has taken over the investigation.

“During that stop, he determined that the occupants may be undocumented immigrants. None were able to provide any documentation or identifications to prove their status or even who they were,” said Cpl. Justin Wheatly.

While investigators are trying to figure out their immigration status, authorities say that it’s always important to have identification at all times.

“It's always important. If we are to go to another country we have to prove that we are there legally or we will get in the same situation. If you are visiting another country it's very important to keep that information with you. Make copies of your passports, your visa, whatever that county requires. Keep it with you to show your information,” Cpl. Wheatly said.

An ICE spokeswoman declined to comment, citing an active investigation.

Eureka Police added this update to Facebook Thursday morning:

"While assisting Missouri State Highway Patrol on a traffic stop this morning two Hispanic males fled from officers. One male wearing a gray or light colored sweatshirt fled south from the area of I-44 and Six Flags Road, the second wearing a light blue sweatshirt fled north from the area. If you see someone matching these descriptions in the area contact the Eureka Police Department at 636-938-6600 or dispatch at 636-549-8210."


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