When word spread that more than a dozen people had been killed in a crash at an intersection about two miles northwest of the small town of Holtville, some thought it might have been farmworkers headed to start their long day in the nearby agricultural fields. The vehicle was all wrong. Not a van or a bus.
The of people crammed into the SUV was far too high for a vehicle that normally would hold seven or eight passengers. And then there was the debris field.
Missing from it was a tell-talefor some advocatesof farmworkers. There were no lunchboxes.
But s of the tragic ending of a tale, in this land of migrants and immigrants both rooted to Imperial County and passing through, were everywhere. On Wednesday, U. Border Patrol agents insist they did not stop or pursue either vehiclealthough community activists express skepticism.
Either way, the outcome illustrated the high stakes involved in human smuggling. The Suburban was found engulfed in flames, its 19 occupants discovered hiding in the nearby brush.
The Expedition, which carried 25 people, was struck by a big rig, killing At least 10 of the dead were Mexican nationals. At least three Guatemalan nationals were among the victims: a year-old woman who died, her year-old mother who was injured and a year-old woman who was injured.
The chain of events leading to the crash began in the predawn hours Tuesday, when two vehicles drove through a foot breach in the boundary fence separating Southern California from Mexico. While there is caution tape around the breach, the hole has since been patched and reinforced with two concrete pillars. The of people in the SUV was also a surprising revelation, and the agent estimated each person could fetch a fee of thousands, meaning such a haul may have translated into six figures. A year-old Mexicali man drove the burgundy Expedition with 24 passengers; it is unclear who was driving the Suburban.
Shortly before 6 a.
Soon after, agents said they reviewed surveillance footage and spotted the Expedition and Suburban leaving the area near the breach. The Holtville Fire Department responded to the vehicle fire.
As Silva was clearing the scene, he got a second call. On Wednesday, the firefighters had a meeting with a counselor to talk about what they saw and clear their he.
The nonprofit Alliance San Diego asked on Twitter for people to come forward if they have information that indicates the Border Patrol did pursue the SUV before the crash. Wells spent most of Tuesday fielding calls from residents concerned that someone they knew might have been among the dead.
Human smuggling suspected in crash that killed 13 in imperial county
Holtville Mayor Mike Goodsell said he was saddened when he heard about the crash, adding that human smuggling is a part of life along the border. Incidents are often covered by the local press, he said, but the of people killed was shocking.
David Kyle, a sociology professor at UC Davis and an expert on human smuggling, said that financial gain could for the of people crammed into the Expedition. She writes narrative pieces with a strong emphasis on the Latino community and others that make up the diversity of Los Angeles and California.
Mejia was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for its coverage of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, as well as the team that was a Pulitzer finalist for its coverage of a boat fire that killed 34 people off the coast of Santa Barbara.
Andrew J. Ruben Vives is a general asment reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He helped uncover the financial corruption in the city of Bell that led to criminal charges against eight city officials. The investigative series won the Pulitzer Prize for public service and other prestigious awards. County coronavirus spike hits alarming levels, with 10, infected in a week, as Delta variant spre.
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At least 13 killed in crash of suv carrying more than 2 dozen near u.s.-mexico border
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