November 11, 2023

8 killed in collision after police pursued suspected human transporter, Texas officials say

On a south Texas highway on Wednesday, the driver of a vehicle suspected of transporting smuggled migrants evaded police and collided with an inbound vehicle, resulting in the deaths of eight individuals.

The collision occurred at approximately 6:30 a.m. when the occupant of a 2009 Honda Civic attempted to evade Zavala County Sheriff's Office deputies by passing a semi-truck, according to the state Department of Public Safety. A fire broke out in the 2015 Chevrolet Equinox following a collision with the Civic, as The Associated Press reported. 

The entirety of both vehicles was destroyed, according to DPS. Those killed included the Houston-born, 21-year-old Civic's driver and his five passengers.

The Illegal Aliens

Some of the passengers originated from Honduras, according to a statement by department spokesman Christopher Olivarez. Both of the passengers on the Equinox were from Georgia.

Olivarez stated that the identities of the deceased will be disclosed to their families initially.

The speeds of the vehicles were unknown; however, law enforcement-provided photographs indicate that both were severely damaged, and the Equinox had suffered extensive flame damage.

The latest fatal vehicle collision involving migrants occurred on Wednesday near Batesville, approximately 80 miles southwest of San Antonio. It is the deadliest collision involving migrants since March 2021, when thirteen people were killed in a collision in desolate Holtville, California.

Between January 2010 and June of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas recorded a total of 106 fatalities that occurred as a result of Border Patrol vehicle pursuits.

Rising Deaths

Deaths averaged 3.5 per year from 2019 until 2020, when they skyrocketed, prompting authorities to devise a novel policy pertaining to vehicle pursuits in an effort to enhance safety.

The January policy announcement, as stated by CBP, "provides a clear framework for weighing the risks of conducting pursuits, such as the dangers they pose to the public, against the benefit or need they provide to law enforcement." It does not outright prohibit pursuits.

In recent years, local law enforcement agencies have also been implicated in catastrophic collisions.

Four migrants were killed in June 2022 during a smuggling attempt in the city of Encinal, South Texas, approximately 80 miles southeast of the accident that occurred on Wednesday, subsequent to a police pursuit.

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