Five undocumented immigrants were killed on Sunday when the vehicle transporting them crashed during a car chase with Border Patrol agents and a sheriff's deputy, according to ABC. The crash took place in Big Wells, Texas, a town about 50 miles north of the Mexico border and 100 miles south of San Antonio. The SUV carrying a total of 14 people lost control during the high speed chase on Highway 85 and rolled over several times, ejecting passengers.
"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," Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd told ABC. "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."
During the crash, 12 people were ejected from the Suburban. Four died on the scene, while one died in a San Antonio hospital after being flown out in an emergency helicopter. Boyd told reporters this incident is nothing out of the ordinary. "Every day my deputies are getting into pursuits, every single day. It's very rare that a day goes by where we don't get into a chase," he said. "Most of it is smuggling traffic. It's extremely busy."
The driver was uninjured and taken into custody. He is reportedly a known coyotaje, or a person paid to smuggle immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. The driver and one other passenger are both U.S. citizens. "The driver of this vehicle, we have handled before. We dealt with him last week," Boyd said.
The chase began when border agents spotted three SUVs “traveling in tandem past his location on a rural highway and believed a smuggling event was taking place.”
The two other vehicles were pulled over, but the third refused to stop. "The driver did not stop and the attempt to stop the vehicle was taken over by a Dimmit County Sheriff's Office deputy. The vehicle rolled over a short distance later on Highway 85 near Big Wells, resulting in multiple injuries and fatalities," according to a statement from law enforcement.