U.S. Border Patrol officials said a crash in El Paso, Texas, left at least seven people dead, blaming human smugglers for the incident.
“Human smuggling is not a victimless crime,” El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Patrol Gloria Chavez said in a statement about the incident on June 25. “This is a tragic loss for our El Paso Community.”
Three of the victims were illegal immigrants, including one from Guatemala and two from Mexico, the Border Patrol said on Saturday. The other four victims were residents of El Paso, including the 18-year-old driver, according to officials.
The vehicle was encountered by agents, who activated their emergency lights in an attempt to pull the vehicle over. However, the vehicle—a 2019 Chevy Cruze—continued, and ignored speed limits and traffic signals, Chavez said.
Border Patrol agents called off the search and their lights due to the speed, Chavez added. The SUV failed to make a turn before crossing the center median, crashing into a trailer.
Agents came across the car after it crashed, the Border Patrol said.
An advocacy group for immigrants, the Border Network of Human Rights, said an investigation is needed.
“BNHR is devastated for the families and the seven individuals whose lives were lost in this terrible and avoidable incident,” Fernando Garcia, director of the Border Network for Human Rights, told the El Paso Times.