At least 10 people are dead and 20 were injured when an overloaded delivery truck crashed on a freeway in a tiny town about 100 miles south of Corpus Christi, Texas on Wednesday, authorities said.
The accident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. on US 281 in Encino, Texas, a town with about 140 residents. Brooks County Sheriff Urbino Martinez said the van, which was designed to carry 15 passengers, was top heavy and overturned when the driver lost control of the curve. The van held 29 suspected undocumented migrants, he said.
The identities of the 30 in the van, including the driver who also died, have been withheld until loved ones can be notified, said Sgt. Nathan Brandley of the Texas Department of Public Safety. No information was immediately released about the van, including the registry or the owner.
A witness reportedly saw a Ford delivery truck speeding on that freeway as the driver tried to turn and the delivery truck hit a metal power pole, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Nathan Brandley told KTRK.
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Brandley said the death toll was originally announced at 11 but was later revised. He also said the 20 who survived the first crash all had serious to life-threatening injuries.
Encino is a parish of about 140 people about 2 miles south of the Falfurrias border checkpoint. The Texas DPS said its soldiers were investigating.
In early March of this year, at least 13 people, including the driver, died after an SUV loaded with at least 25 undocumented migrants crashed into an articulated truck near the US-Mexico border in California. The Van Wednesday didn’t appear to be in a chase, Martinez told The Monitor.
“Cramming dozens of people into eight-person vehicles and driving recklessly to avoid detection shows total disregard for human life,” acting US Attorney Randy Grossman said in a March statement. “We will find and prosecute smugglers who use and cause these methods.” tragic and preventable deaths. ”
Later in March, eight migrants were killed in another overcrowded pickup truck when the vehicle collided with another truck during a police chase near the Texas border town of Del Rio, authorities said.
The Justice Department sued Texas State and Governor Greg Abbott last Friday over an executive order ordering state soldiers to overtake vehicles suspected of bringing unauthorized migrants into federal custody. The order was blocked by a federal judge on Wednesday.
An increase in migrants crossing the border illegally has led to an increase in the number of accidents in which vehicles are trapped with migrants paying large sums to be smuggled into the country.
The Dallas Morning News reported that the recruitment of young drivers for the smuggling trips combined with excessive speed and reckless driving resulted in terrible accidents for these youngsters.
Contribution: The Associated Press