Five people, all believed to be undocumented immigrants, were killed Sunday afternoon when the SUV they were in crashed as it was being pursued by the Border Patrol in south Texas, News radio 1200 WOAI reports.
There was a total of 14 people packed into the vehicle, including 12 undocumented immigrants and the driver and a passenger, both believed to be US citizens.
“The Border Patrol was pursuing the vehicle and they were traveling at about 100 miles an hour,” Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd told reporters.
He said the SUV skidded off the road and then attempted to get back onto the highway. But the driver over corrected and the vehicle flipped over.
“Several people were ejected from the vehicle.” Boyd said.
He says four victims were pronounced dead on the scene and a fifth was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio. He says several other victims were airlifted to San Antonio hospitals, or were treated at a hospital in nearby Carrizo Springs.
Dimmit County is in rural south Texas about 100 miles southwest of San Antonio. Boyd said the driver was not hurt and was arrested.
It was not immediately clear what charges he will face. The Sheriff says incidents like ‘are not unusual in this area,’ which is north of the busy border crossing at Laredo, which is frequently used by immigrant smuggling gangs to get their human cargo into the U.S.
Boyd said he didn’t know where the five immigrants who died were from, but he says most undocumented migrants he sees in Dimmit County are from Mexico or Central America.
“This is a perfect example of why our borders need to be secured.” He said.