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  4. One dead, two injured in vehicle crash following law enforcement pursuit near Willcox, Arizona

One dead, two injured in vehicle crash following law enforcement pursuit near Willcox, Arizona

Release Date
Wed, 08/16/2023

On August 4, 2023, at approximately 3:33 a.m., a U.S. Border Patrol agent assigned to the Willcox, Arizona Border Patrol Station was in a marked Border Patrol transport van when he observed a 2003 maroon GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle traveling northbound on Arizona State Route 80 near mile marker 297. The agent requested records checks on the Yukon via radio from Tucson Sector Communications at approximately 3:35 a.m. Sector Communications provided a response at approximately 3:39 a.m. to the records checks request.

The agent in the transport van attempted to initiate a vehicle stop of the Yukon on interstate 10 at mile marker 302 near the intersection of I-10 and State Highway 90 at approximately 3:41 a.m., but the Yukon failed to yield to the agent’s emergency lights and siren.  A Border Patrol watch commander, in a marked Border Patrol truck, was behind the agent at the time he attempted to make the vehicle stop.

The agent was traveling westbound on I-10 passing mile marker 301 at approximately 3:43 a.m. and announced over the radio that the Yukon failed to yield. The agent further transmitted the road conditions were clear, there was no other traffic, and the Yukon was traveling in the right lane at 95 miles per hour. The agent also requested assistance from additional agents, Customs and Border Patrol air assets, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

A supervisory Border Patrol agent at the Willcox Station, acting in the role of the pursuit supervisor, announced on the radio at approximately 3:44 a.m. that the vehicles were approaching an exit and suggested the agent and watch commander back off the Yukon so it might exit the highway. The agent acknowledged the supervisory agent’s suggestion stating he would give the Yukon some space. The watch commander suggested via radio that the pursuit be terminated and both units fall back and deactivate their emergency equipment with the possibility of reengaging the vehicle farther down the highway.

The pursuing agent announced he terminated the pursuit at mile marker 297 at approximately 3:45 a.m. and turned off the transport van’s lights and siren while the supervisory agent acknowledged the termination of the pursuit via the radio at approximately 3:46 a.m. The supervisory agent also notified the agent and watch commander there was no support available from CBP air assets or other agents further ahead.

The watch commander announced on the radio to the agent at approximately 3:48 a.m. that he would drive ahead to spot and pass the Yukon to see if he could get far enough ahead to deploy a vehicle immobilization device. Dispatch then announced on the radio that Arizona DPS was notified and would be passing the information to troopers.

The watch commander announced on the radio at approximately 3:53 a.m. that he spotted and passed the Yukon while traveling westbound on I-10 and traveled enough distance to deploy a vehicle immobilization device ahead of the Yukon. The watch commander further stated the agent could try to reacquire the Yukon and call out its position. The supervisory agent and agent acknowledged the watch commander’s radio transmission.

The watch commander announced on the radio he would set up the vehicle immobilization device quickly at approximately 3:58 a.m. and told the agent not to activate his emergency lights and siren until he got very close to the watch commander’s position. The agent announced on the radio he was one mile from the watch commander’s position at approximately 3:59 a.m. The watch commander deployed the vehicle immobilization device on the Yukon but was unsuccessful and spiked an uninvolved vehicle. The watch commander located the uninvolved vehicle and assisted the occupants of the vehicle with repairs. There were no reported injuries to the occupants of the uninvolved vehicle. The Yukon continued westbound on I-10.

The agent reported he was following an Arizona Department of Public Safety unmarked Dodge Charger behind the Yukon at approximately 4:03 a.m. The agent announced on the radio he was exiting I-10 at mile marker 267, Valencia Road, behind the Arizona DPS Charger and the Yukon, at approximately 4:06 a.m.. The agent announced on the radio the Yukon had run several red lights on East Valencia Road and the unmarked Arizona DPS unit was behind it at approximately 4:07 a.m. The agent announced at approximately 4:09 a.m. that it appeared Arizona DPS had the Yukon stopped at the intersection of East Valencia Road and Country Club Road, in Tucson, Arizona. The agent then clarified on the radio at approximately 4:10 a.m. the Yukon had been involved in a vehicle crash and advised Arizona DPS was on scene.

Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility review of video cameras in the area showed the Arizona DPS Charger arrived at the crash scene approximately two minutes after the Yukon came to a stop. The agent arrived on scene approximately ten seconds after the trooper and aided the trooper in securing the crash scene and provided aid to an adult male undocumented migrant who sustained significant injuries. The trooper called for Emergency Medical Services to respond to the scene.

The driver of the Yukon fled the crash scene and was not located by the authorities. Two adult male and one adult female undocumented migrants were inside the Yukon. Tucson Fire Department and EMS arrived on scene at approximately 4:15 a.m.  The Tucson Fire Department transported the three undocumented migrants to Banner University Medical Center where they were admitted. Agents were dispatched to the medical center and established hospital watch on the three apprehended undocumented migrants. One adult male, identified as a citizen of Mexico, was pronounced deceased by the hospital attending physicians at 5:02 a.m. An autopsy was performed by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday, August 7; the autopsy report details are pending.

This incident is under investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, the Tucson Police Department, and the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office; it is under review by CBP’s OPR.  The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General was notified.

Last Modified: Jan 04, 2024