SAN DIEGO — Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 around 4:10 pm, Border Patrol Agents discovered tire tracks for multiple vehicles originating near U.S./Mexico International Boundary and continuing north into the United States, typical signs of a drive-through smuggling event. A piece of one of the vehicles was found near the suspected drive-through.
Around 4:20 pm, agents nearby spotted a pickup truck missing a similar part and attempted to stop the vehicle, using their emergency lights and sirens. The driver of the pickup did not stop and fled, entering Interstate 8 (I-8) eastbound at Buckman Springs Road. As agents followed the vehicle, it exited I-8 at Ribbonwood Rd. and then re-entered the interstate, this time heading west.
As the vehicle continued to flee on I-8, agents attempted to stop the vehicle using a Controlled Tire Deflation Device. Approximately 1 minute after deploying the tire deflation device, the vehicle lost control and drove up onto the embankment off the side of the highway, crashing and rolling over, ejecting some of the passengers approximately one mile east of the Crestwood Rd. exit, on the I-8 westbound. Agents immediately requested emergency medical services, the California Highway Patrol, and rendered medical assistance.
There were 11 occupants in the vehicle: one male driver and 10 passengers, 10 males and one female. Three people were pronounced dead at the scene, including the female. The driver is a United States citizen and is in the custody of the California Highway Patrol. The remaining seven passengers were taken to an area hospital with multiple serious injuries. At approximately 5:30 pm agents discovered another vehicle also believed to be involved in the same incident and a single male was apprehended in connection with that vehicle. The investigation into the smuggling incident is ongoing, and the Border Patrol is fully cooperating with the CHP in their investigation of the collision. This release will be updated if, and when, additional charges are filed.
To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders. To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.