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  4. Two men dead after they were ejected from a vehicle in rollover crash near Cotulla, Texas

Two men dead after they were ejected from a vehicle in rollover crash near Cotulla, Texas

Release Date
Thu, 05/16/2024

On March 27, 2024, at approximately 7:15 p.m., a U.S. Border Patrol agent assigned to the Cotulla Station notified agents by telephone of suspected human smuggling activity involving a red sedan near Farm to Market Road (FM) 133 and Interstate 35 (I-35), southwest of Cotulla, Texas. Border Patrol agents operating in the area had previously observed a vehicle matching the description traveling west on FM 133 at approximately 6:56 p.m. Approximately 17 minutes later, they observed the same vehicle traveling eastbound on FM 133 toward I-35.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) established the following information and timeline based on its preliminary review of radio traffic, video footage from a cellular phone, and statements from CBP personnel.

At approximately 7:55 p.m., agents attempted to stop the sedan on FM 133 by activating their emergency equipment. The sedan failed to yield, increased speed, and continued traveling east. A second agent, equipped with a Vehicle Immobilization Device (VID), was positioned ahead on FM 133, 1.45 miles west of I-35.

At approximately 7:56 p.m., as the sedan approached the second agent’s location, the VID was successfully deployed. The sedan continued eastbound on FM 133, then northbound onto I-35. Agents turned onto I-35 with their emergency equipment still activated and continued their pursuit.

At approximately 7:58 p.m., the sedan was involved in a rollover collision in the median of I-35, approximately 2.9 miles from the VID deployment site. Agents broadcast the accident over service radio and arrived on scene approximately 20 seconds after the collision occurred. Agents then requested emergency medical services (EMS) from the La Salle County Fire Department via service radio.

At approximately 8:01 p.m., agents broadcast that two male passengers had been ejected from the sedan and the male driver was pinned inside the vehicle. The two men had been ejected from the sedan were found 17 feet apart from each other on the southbound lanes of I-35, approximately 132 feet north of the sedan. A civilian who witnessed a portion of the accident advised agents that one of the men had been run over by a semi-truck. Agents observed that the other man was still breathing.

At approximately 8:04 p.m., La Salle County EMS arrived on scene and took over primary care of the two men. EMS assessed both men, who were both unresponsive. They initiated life-saving efforts on one of the men but could not resuscitate him. At approximately 8:30 p.m., EMS notified agents that both men were unresponsive and were already deceased upon EMS’ arrival. At approximately 9:15 p.m., an air life EMS unit airlifted the US citizen driver to the University Hospital of San Antonio.

A local justice of the peace who responded to the scene pronounced both passengers deceased at 8:11 p.m. They were identified as citizens of Mexico. No other migrants were apprehended in the incident.
Texas Department of Public Safety Rangers and Homeland Security Investigations arrived on scene at approximately 11:00 p.m. and are investigating this incident. 

On March 28, 2024, at approximately 9:00 a.m., the driver was released from the hospital. The Texas Department of Public Safety assumed custody of the driver at that time.

CBP OPR is also reviewing the incident. CBP’s National Use of Force Review Board will review this incident at the conclusion of the investigation. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has been notified.

This notification is being issued to the public pursuant to the CBP policy regarding Notification and Review Procedures for Certain Deaths and Deaths in Custody and the Department of Homeland Security FY 2021 Appropriation (H. Rept. 116-458) reporting requirements related to CBP-involved deaths.

Last Modified: May 16, 2024