09 November 2023

Eight dead in crash after police chased a suspected human smuggler in Texas

09 November 2023

Eight people died on Wednesday when the driver of a car suspected of carrying smuggled migrants fled police and crashed into an oncoming vehicle on a South Texas highway.

The crash happened at around 6.30am local time when the driver of a 2009 Honda Civic tried to outrun deputies from the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office and attempted to pass a semi-truck on a two-lane road, the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) said.

The Civic collided with a 2015 Chevrolet Equinox.

Everyone in both vehicles was killed, according to DPS. That includes the 21-year-old driver of the Civic, who was from Houston, and his five passengers.

Some of the passengers were from Honduras, department spokesman Christopher Olivarez said in a statement. The two people in the Equinox were from the state of Georgia.

The identities of those killed will be released to their families first, Mr Olivarez said.

It was unclear how fast the vehicles were going, but photos provided by law enforcement show both were mangled and most of the Equinox was burned.

Wednesday’s crash near Batesville, about 80 miles southwest of San Antonio, is the latest deadly vehicle crash involving migrants, marking the highest death toll since 13 people died in a collision in remote Holtville, California, in March 2021.

The American civil liberties union of Texas has tallied 106 deaths in border -patrol vehicle pursuits from January 2010 to June of this year.

Deaths averaged 3.5 a year through 2019 but spiked in 2020, leading officials to develop a new policy for vehicle pursuits with an eye towards increasing safety.

The Zavala County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment

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