- An accident that killed 13 individuals on Tuesday could possibly be linked to a rupture of the US-Mexico border.
- US officers mentioned the crash occurred after two autos handed a border fence.
- Greater than two dozen individuals have been crammed inside a 1997 Ford Expedition that usually seats eight.
- Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.
A horrific crash between an overloaded SUV and a trailer truck in California could possibly be linked to an earlier incident involving two autos crossing the US-Mexico border wall, US officers mentioned on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s accident close to El Centro, California, a dozen kilometers from the US-Mexico border, killed 13 individuals. A big platform collided at an intersection with a Ford Expedition which was full of 25 individuals inside, regulation enforcement mentioned.
Initially, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Safety mentioned the incident could have concerned farm staff.
However a day later, US officers urged the victims have been doubtless migrants who had crossed the border that morning.
“The preliminary investigation into the origins of the autos signifies a possible hyperlink to the aforementioned breach within the border wall,” El Centro sector chief patrol officer Gregory Bovino mentioned in an announcement. “Human smugglers have confirmed time and time once more that they care little for human life.”
The Border Patrol mentioned it was conducting a associated human trafficking investigation, however was unable to launch additional particulars as a consequence of “potential pending prosecutions.”
Simply earlier than 6:00 a.m. native time, CBP mentioned officers acquired a name a couple of purple Chevrolet Suburban engulfed in flames. Shortly after, officers discovered 19 individuals hiding close by within the brush and decided that they’d entered the nation via a lately found 10-foot breach within the border wall separating the USA and Mexico, a indicated the company in a press launch.
Surveillance footage confirmed that there have been the truth is two autos passing one another, CBP mentioned.
Lower than an hour later, CBP mentioned it acquired one other name: this one concerning the crash that killed 13 individuals.
The motive force was a 28-year-old resident of Mexicali, Mexico, in keeping with Arturo Platero, spokesperson for the El Centro workplace of the California Freeway Patrol. Platero added that the automotive was a burgundy 1997 Ford Expedition and that it was struck on its left aspect after driving via an intersection. The motive force died within the accident.
On Wednesday, Platero advised Insider that CHP is actively investigating the incident and that each one different passengers are being handled for accidents at close by hospitals.
After the crash, the Mexican consulate in Calexico issued a statement, saying: “Tragically, as of now, native authorities are reporting that 13 individuals have died, ten of whom are confirmed to be Mexican residents.”
San Diego climate reported that one other sufferer of the accident was a Guatemalan nationwide. Insider has contacted the Guatemalan Consulate in Los Angeles for remark and affirmation.
Lauro Barajas, a United Farm Staff organizer, advised Insider he was within the space when he heard of the crash. At first, as a result of time of the incident, the variety of individuals concerned, and the situation, he believed the victims could possibly be farm laborers.
“So instantly I went to the hospital,” he mentioned. “I believed if the employees within the space have been those concerned within the accident, then the households would go to them and see how they have been doing. They weren’t.”
After talking with the Mexican consulate, Barajas mentioned he was satisfied that this was a scenario involving “individuals crossing the border”.
Staff within the space advised him that whereas they’re typically anticipated to load right into a automobile past its capability – employers typically demand it, Barajas mentioned – greater than two dozen wouldn’t be in a single SUV. “The scenario is dangerous for farm staff,” he mentioned, “nevertheless it’s not that dangerous”.
CBP officers insist that Tuesday’s crash didn’t comply with any high-speed chases. However some immigrant rights organizations are skeptical.
Andrea Guerrero, govt director of the San Diego Alliance, advised Insider there had been “a sequence of accidents sparked by border patrol lawsuits and previous makes an attempt to cowl up CBP actions. [that] raises questions on what occurred right here. “
“We encourage anybody with direct data of a attainable excessive velocity chase to come back ahead,” Guerrero added.
A ProPublica survey discovered that the border patrol is concerned in an accident each 9 days and that one in three automotive chases involving a border patrol leads to an accident.