PINE VALLEY, Calif. — Border Patrol agents in East County San Diego arrested a man on Tuesday morning who approached the Interstate 8 checkpoint, made a U-turn, then drove into oncoming traffic on I-8. After turning around again, the driver fled through the I-8 checkpoint at a high rate of speed.
The incident began at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The Pine Valley checkpoint was operational when a 2009 Infinity G35 approached from the east. The sedan suddenly made a U-turn and drove into oncoming traffic. Agents were observing the wrong-way driver when he abruptly made another U-turn and retraced his path, speeding through the checkpoint at approximately 70 miles per hour. With cars lined up for inspection, the man veered out of the traffic lane, hit a steel roadway sign and injured an agent with the flying steel debris. The agent was hospitalized.
Agents pursued the man on I-8. The driver disregarded agents, their sirens, and flashing lights. At times he drove in excess of 100 miles per hour. The fleeing man exited at Pine Valley Road, then lost control of his car and crashed on a berm. Climbing out of the wreckage, he left his two passengers in the vehicle and fled on foot. Additional agents arrived on scene to aid the two passengers, who were uninjured, and to track the subject. They found the driver hiding inside the garage of a private residence.
The 27-year-old driver and his two male passengers, ages 40 and 27, were all Mexican nationals illegally present in the U.S. and are being held in Federal custody. The driver faces charges for transporting aliens illegally present in the U.S.
Campo Station Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge Justin De La Torre commented on the risky incident and stated, “Not only do these alien smugglers jeopardize the lives of others, their own actions are leading to Federal prison time and lifelong repercussions.”
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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.