Seven people were killed and three were seriously injured in a crash in El Paso, Texas, early Thursday morning after border patrol agents tried to stop the car they were in, the police said.
Border patrol agents had responded to a report of suspicious activity near the border with Mexico, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement on Friday. When agents arrived, they saw a suspicious car, a 2019 Chevrolet Cruze, and initiated a stop. Instead of stopping, the driver drove off at high speed, the statement said.
While the authorities did not specify what the report of suspicious activity was about or why they considered the Chevrolet Cruze suspicious, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in its statement that the area is used frequently by transnational criminal organizations for human smuggling.
After the driver failed to yield to the border agents, the agents stopped their pursuit, according to the El Paso police.
Soon after, El Paso Station border patrol agents found the Chevrolet Cruze at an intersection, where it had crashed into a semitrailer that was parked on private property, the border agency said. Three people were taken to a hospital with serious injuries, the police said.
The Chevrolet’s driver, an 18-year-old man from El Paso, was among those who died. The nine passengers included three El Paso residents, three Mexican nationals and a Guatemalan national, according to a statement by the El Paso police.
“At this time, the U.S. Border Patrol is cooperating with the active investigation, which is being led by the El Paso Police Department,” the border agency said. “The incident is also under review by C.B.P.’s Office of Professional Responsibility.”