United States Border Patrol personnel revealed more information Saturday about an accident that occurred Thursday in El Paso, Texas, that left seven people dead.
The victims were among 10 people inside a 2019 Chevrolet Cruze that Border Patrol agents chased after an alert from a border sensor, KFOX14 El Paso reported.
Three of the victims were illegal immigrants, two from Mexico, one from Guatemala, and were being smuggled into the United States, the Border Patrol said Saturday. The other four victims were El Paso residents: an 18-year-old male driver, two women, and another man.
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“Human smuggling is not a victimless crime,” Gloria Chavez, head of the El Paso Sector Border Patrol, said in a statement. “This is a tragic loss for our El Paso community.”
Two men, 18 and 25, and a 16-year-old boy were injured in the accident, authorities said.
Border Patrol agents were alerted to a suspicious vehicle near the border with Sunland Park, NM, around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the El Paso Times.
After detecting the vehicle, Border Patrol agents attempted to stop traffic, but then ended the pursuit over security concerns as the Cruze drove away quickly, the Times reported.
Shortly thereafter, the Cruze was unable to negotiate a curve, crossed a median and crashed into a parked trailer, KFOX14 reported.
On Friday, an immigrant advocacy group called the accident an “avoidable incident” and demanded an investigation.
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“BNHR is devastated by the families and the seven people whose lives were lost in this terrible and avoidable incident,” said Fernando García, director of the Border Human Rights Network, in a statement to the Times.
“We can only imagine the circumstances under which this incident could have happened, and while we are not blaming anyone at this time, we have also witnessed that this is not the only time that reckless pursuit by the United States Border Patrol The United States has endangered immigrants in Our area. “