Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Deadly Calif. crash on route for illegal border crossings

In this image from KYMA law enforcement work at the scene of a deadly crash involving a semitruck and an SUV in Holtville Calif. on Tuesday Southern California crash between semitrailer and SUV leaves at least 15 dead in El Centro
Kristine Garrett | 03 March, 2021, 14:31

The details surrounding the deadly accident in rural California on Tuesday are still unclear, but what is known is that an SUV was struck by a semitruck towing two trailers - and at least 13 people were killed in the fierce collision.

Authorities say no. For decades, there have been concerns about the high death toll in crashes along the California-Mexico border.

The older-model Ford Expedition SUV should fit only six people - meaning nearly 20 additional passengers were unsafely riding inside at the time of the crash, he said. "We don't generally comment on immigration status", he said.

Shortly before the Highway Patrol news conference, officials from the El Centro Regional Medical Center, which received numerous people injured in the crash, said that 28 people had been in the SUV.

They said Border Patrol agents were helping with translation and talking to the survivors. The ages of those injured ranges from 16 years old to 55 years old.

The driver of the truck has moderate injuries. Two passengers from the SUV are in intensive care, including one who is in critical condition, hospital spokesman Todd Burke said.

"It's a very sad situation", Watson of the CHP said.

California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, and says 25 people were inside the Ford Expedition at the time of the accident.

Deputies described a gruesome scene in which 12 people were found dead and the wounded were walking around aimlessly or trying to free themselves from the vehicle.

Judy Cruz, managing director of the emergency department at El Centro Regional Medical Center, told reporters 15 people had died, at least 14 of them pronounced dead at the scene.

While the exact cause of the crash is under investigation, CHP officials said the big rig collided with the driver's side of the SUV at the intersection of SR-115 and Norrish Road. If it had 25 people inside, that would easily exceed the payload limit, which taxes the brakes and makes it tougher to steer, said Frank Borris, former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects Investigation. One more patient is in the process of being transferred.

Imperial County emergency crews were called out to the accident scene near Holtville before 7 a.m. PT. Holtville is a farming community about ten miles north of the border with Mexico, growing mostly alfalfa and vegetables. He did not identify the nationalities of the injured, but said that authorities had reached out to the Mexican Consulate for help, and that it was not yet clear whether any of the passengers were American citizens.

White House officials have urged migrants not to attempt a journey north, insisting the new administration needs more time to establish an orderly process for asylum seekers and others seeking protection in the United States. Numerous wrecks involve immigrants trying to cross into the US, with a significant number of crashes occurring during chases by American authorities.

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