Authorities say that late last night, nine suspected illegal immigrants from Mexico died in a rollover car accident in southern Texas.
Lenny Sanchez, a Palmview Police Department commander, revealed that the overcrowded van was stuffed with 19 people at the time of the crash. He stated that the vehicle rolled over on U.S. Highway 83, the roadway that runs parallel to the Rio Grande River, which forms the U.S.-Mexican Border.
Officer Sanchez stated that nine people were killed in the single-car collision. Of the survivors, six were injured and four fled the scene. Two of the four runaways were later caught. He further revealed that all of the dead were believed to be in the country illegally.
Sanchez said that cause of the crash is not yet known, but that it did appear that the van may have been being pursued. He said that simple overcrowding may have caused the rollover. Sanchez stated:
"We see this very frequently, of course. We often see vehicles filled with people and the driver takes off running or refuses to stop for police officers."
In the southwestern region of the U.S., people who smuggle illegals across the border from Mexico are known as coyotes. They often overload vehicles and then are forced to drive at high speeds to outrun law enforcement officials. Because the vehicles are so top heavy with the extra human cargo, they roll easily.
As a Phoenix car accident attorney, and having lived in Arizona for many years, it is common to see storys about the lengths that people are willing to go to come into this great country. They often will take risks that can wind up costing them their lives.
In 2008, nine suspected illegal immigrants died and nine were killed in a similar rollover accident on an Arizona desert highway, south of Phoenix. In 2006, 10 were killed in a rollover near Yuma in the far western part of Arizona.
Being a Phoenix car accident lawyer, it is sad to see such a devestatingly fatal accident. If they are illegal, however, the victims and their family members will not have the same rights as they would have if they weren't breaking the law to get into the U.S. in the first place.
We will update you as more information becomes available.