8 Killed as Human Smuggling Suspect Crashes Into S.U.V., Authorities Say


The driver, who had five passengers in the vehicle, collided head-on with an S.U.V. carrying two people while trying to elude law enforcement, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

Eight people were killed in southwest Texas on Wednesday morning when a driver suspected of human smuggling tried to elude law enforcement officers and slammed head-on into an S.U.V., the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

The crash occurred just after 6:30 a.m. on US-57 near Batesville, some 80 miles southwest of San Antonio, the department said in a statement. The driver of a Honda Civic, which was carrying five passengers and was being pursued by a Zavala County Sheriff’s Office vehicle, “passed a truck tractor-semitrailer in a no-passing zone” and crashed the car into the S.U.V., causing both vehicles to catch fire, it said.

The driver, a 21-year-old from Houston, was killed, as were the five passengers, some of whom were from Honduras, the department said. The driver and passenger of the S.U.V., both from Georgia, were also killed, according to the authorities, who withheld the names of the dead pending notification of their families.

A spokeswoman for the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office declined to provide further information about the crash on Wednesday, noting that the Texas Department of Public Safety had taken over the investigation.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, Lt. Christopher Olivarez, said that he did not know how fast the vehicle from the Sheriff’s office or the Honda were traveling at the time of the crash, and that the investigation was continuing.

“We’ve still got to identify the deceased,” he said.

There have been a number of fatal accidents in recent years involving migrants near the Mexican border.

In March 2021, 13 migrants were killed when an S.U.V. carrying more than two dozen people crashed into a tractor-trailer on the outskirts of Holtville, Calif., near the border with Mexico. Less than two weeks later, eight migrants were killed in southwestern Texas when a pickup truck they were riding in crashed head-on into another pickup during a police chase.


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