Authorities in Texas said that at least eight illegal immigrants have died in a head-on collision in Val Verde County, Texas—located near the U.S.-Mexico border—following a high-speed chase.
Officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrested the driver of the vehicle after he allegedly tried to run away following the crash, a spokesman for the department confirmed to The Epoch Times.
The fatal crash took place on March 15 at approximately 1:26 p.m. on U.S. Highway 77, approximately 30 miles north of Del Rio.
A preliminary investigation found a driver piloting a red Dodge pickup was evading DPS troopers when it caused a head-on collision with a white Ford F-150.
“Due to injuries sustained, 8 undocumented passengers from the Dodge pickup were pronounced deceased on scene. The driver and a child passenger from the Ford pickup and one undocumented passenger from the Dodge pickup were transported to a hospital in San Antonio and are in stable condition. The driver from the Dodge pickup, after the collision, fled on foot, but was apprehended shortly after,” the spokesman said via email.
The investigation is ongoing.
Several weeks ago, in Southern California, officials said that more than a dozen illegal immigrants were killed following a collision with another vehicle. Immigration authorities confirmed that the SUV, which was carrying about 25 people, entered the United States from Mexico in early March via a hole in the border fence.
“We pray for the accident victims and their families during this difficult time,” said El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino in a news conference on Wednesday. Agents, he said, believe the deceased individuals were part of a larger group of about 44 migrants who were smuggled through a hole in the fence near Calexico, a California city that lies along the border and is next to the Mexican city of Mexicali.
Bovino added that an “initial investigation into the origins of the vehicles indicate a potential nexus to the aforementioned breach in the border wall,” while adding that “human smugglers have proven time and again they have little regard for human life.”
In recent weeks, the number of migrants attempting to enter the United States via Mexico has surged to levels not seen in 20 years, said Department of Homeland Security Chief Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday.
U.S. border agents conducted about 100,000 apprehensions or rapid expulsions of migrants at the border in February, officials have said.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement agency for comment.