A car carrying nine undocumented migrants crashed when it ran off the road Tuesday morning, possibly being pursued by other vehicles in south-central El Paso, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
The accident happened around 6:55 AM on the Reynolds Street Bridge between Durazno and Alameda Avenues near the University of El Paso, Texas Medical Center, DPS Sgt. Eliot Torres said.
DPS investigators are trying to determine what led to the accident during an alleged human smuggling attempt.
Immigration:Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn Calls for ‘Safe, Orderly, Humane and Lawful’ Immigration Reform
A total of four vehicles were involved when the red car ran off the road, crashed and ended up on its side on the Reynolds Street Bridge as other vehicles left the scene, Torres said.
The man who drove the car was taken to hospital for minor injuries and faces charges of smuggling as the investigation continues, Torres said. No other injuries were reported.
According to Torres, nine undocumented migrants were found in the car along with the driver, who were handed over to US border control. Information on countries of origin of migrants was not immediately available.
More:US Border Patrol implements updated harassment policy
Although it is not yet clear what led to the accident, it is not uncommon for smugglers’ vehicles to travel in groups, and smuggling organizations have been known to “rob” each other of their valuable human cargo.
Authorities said the El Paso region continues to see a high number of human smuggling attempts.
The US Border Patrol said it detained 277 undocumented migrants in 49 smuggling cases in the El Paso region and southern New Mexico last week alone.
One of the most significant incidents occurred on January 10, when Border Patrol agents from Deming intercepted a convoy of six contraband vehicles at a tactical checkpoint on a road in southern New Mexico. Agents detained 38 migrants, including three unaccompanied children, from Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, officials said.
Smuggling:“Terrible, but predictable.” American Civil Liberties Union calls for reconsideration of border guards’ fatal chase
More:Homeland Security arrests driver and tour guide in fatal migrant smuggling crash in Upper Valley