AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Eight people in a Dodge pickup truck loaded with immigrants were killed when the vehicle collided with another pickup truck following a police chase near the Texas border city of Del Rio, authorities said.
The crash happened afternoon on U.S. Highway 277 as Texas Department of Public Safety troopers chased a red Dodge pickup truck, the agency said in a statement. The truck collided head-on with a white Ford F-150 nearly 30 miles north of Del Rio.
The driver and a child passenger of the Ford F-150 were hospitalized, as was one of the passengers from the Dodge pickup, according to the agency’s statement. All eight of the people killed and the surviving passenger of the Dodge pickup were immigrants in the U.S. without authorization, according to DPS.
DPS did not say why troopers were pursuing the truck. A spokesperson said the agency would release more details on the cause of the pursuit and the names of the victims.
The driver of the Dodge pickup truck ran away following the crash, but was later arrested, the agency said.
Earlier this month, 13 people were killed in one of the deadliest highway crashes involving migrants sneaking into the U.S. The crash happened after a Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban entered California through a section of border fence with Mexico that was cut away, apparently by smugglers, according to immigration officials.
The crashes come amid rising crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement issued.
“This is not new,” he said, citing previous surges in border crossings in 2019 and 2014, but noted that the number of encounters at the southwest border has been steadily increasing since last April.