(BIG WELLS, Texas) — Five undocumented immigrants in a speeding sport utility vehicle were killed Sunday when it crashed while being chased by border patrol agents and a sheriff’s deputy in a Texas town about 50 miles from the border with Mexico, officials said.
The fatal crash occurred around noon local time near Big Wells, which is about 100 miles southwest of San Antonio, Dimmet County Sheriff Marion Boyd told reporters at the scene.
“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,” Boyd said. “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.”
Boyd said a total of 14 people were inside the SUV and several were ejected out of the vehicle when it rolled onto Highway 85.
He said four people died at the scene, and several were flown by emergency helicopter to a hospital in San Antonio. One person died upon arriving at the hospital, he said.
Boyd said the driver of the SUV survived and was taken into custody.
“The driver was not ejected. The deputy found him sitting upright in the seat. He was able to get him out of the vehicle and the driver was actually walking,” Boyd said. “The deputy actually took him into custody.”
Boyd said the driver and one passenger of the passengers were the only U.S. citizens in the vehicle.
He said the driver, whose name was not immediately released, was known to police as a human smuggler.
“The driver of this vehicle, we have handled before. We dealt with him last week,” Boyd said.
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