Thirteen people were killed in a car crash near the Mexican Border is Southern California, the Border Patrol said Wednesday.
Those killed were part of a group of 44 people who entered the U.S. through a hole cut into the border fence, according to NBC News. Gregory Bovino, the agency’s El Centro sector chief, told The Associated Press that surveillance video showed a Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban drive through the opening early Tuesday. It’s believed they were part of a migrant smuggling operation. The Suburban carried 19 people, and it caught fire after entering the U.S. All escaped the vehicle and were taken into custody by Border Patrol agents.
The Expedition crammed with 25 people continued on, and a tractor-trailer struck it a short time later. Ten of the 13 killed have been identified as Mexican citizens. The rest of those in the SUV and the truck driver survived. The Border Patrol said its agents were not pursuing the vehicle before the crash. The opening in the fence was about 30 miles east of the crash in the heart of California’s Imperial Valley, a major farming region. It was made of steel bollards that were built before former President Donald Trump blanketed much of the border with taller barriers that go deeper into the ground. “Human smugglers have proven time and again they have little regard for human life,” Bovino said. “Those who may be contemplating crossing the border illegally should pause to think of the dangers that all too often end in tragedy, tragedies our Border Patrol Agents and first responders are unfortunately very familiar with.”
ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR: CONNOR KMIECIK
PHOTO CREDITS: THE WASHINGTON POST