Four people are dead and three are critically injured after an alleged human smuggler led authorities on a high-speed chase down I-35 in the town of Encinal, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The town is located about 40 miles north of the U.S. — Mexico border.
DPS tweeted that the driver allegedly attempted to evade law enforcement and crashed into a commercial vehicle.
LAREDO – Troopers are investigating a fatality crash on IH35 in Encinal, TX. Currently, 4 are confirmed deceased & 3 are critical. The driver suspected of human smuggling evaded law enforcement & crashed into a commercial vehicle. Updates will provided once they become available. pic.twitter.com/0qBuRsDnIS
— TxDPS – South Texas Region (@TxDPSSouth) June 30, 2022
Border Patrol agents were reportedly pursuing the white Jeep when it slammed into the back of a semi-truck, according to Houston CBS affiliate KHOU.
The driver of the Jeep and two other passengers were hospitalized in critical condition, Lt. Chris Olivarez with DPS told KHOU.
He added this was the second deadly alleged smuggling attempt in the region over the previous 24 hours after two unlawful migrants allegedly died in a car that was being pursued by authorities near the border town of La Joya.
These events followed just days after one of the nation’s deadliest smuggling episodes in which 53 people died in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio.
The Dallas Express previously reported that San Antonio authorities found the victims in the back of the truck with no air conditioning in the sweltering Texas heat on June 29.
Federal prosecutors have arrested four people, including the suspected driver, who was scheduled to make his first court appearance Thursday, KHOU reported.
That truck was packed with more than 60 people. The dead included 27 people from Mexico, 14 from Honduras, seven from Guatemala, and two from El Salvador, according to Francisco Garduño, chief of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute.