El Paso Border Patrol chief Gloria Chaves says a deadly vehicle crash that happened in downtown El Paso, Texas, on Thursday morning and killed seven was likely a human smuggling event.
According to Chaves, Border Patrol agents were responding to sensor activity near the border area in Sunland Park, New Mexico when an agent spotted a suspicious vehicle carrying numerous occupants. The agent took down the license plate number and relayed the information over her radio.
Later, agents in El Paso encountered the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. The agents activated vehicle signals in an effort to conduct a vehicle inspection. The driver ignored the agents, disregarding the speed limit and traffic signs while jeopardizing the public safety and the safety of the occupants.
Due to the high rate of speed, Border Patrol agents discontinued their pursuit. After losing sight of the vehicle, agents stumbled upon the vehicle a short time later. The vehicle had crashed into a parked trailer on the side of the road. Emergency services were immediately requested to the scene.
The vehicle, a mid-size car, was found to have been carrying a total of 10 passengers, seven of which died in the crash. The other three suffered injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The chief provided an update, saying three of the 10 occupants have been determined to be illegal aliens, two from Mexico and one from Guatemala. The investigation is ongoing into the other individuals.