Six suspected undocumented immigrants were killed and nine were injured when their truck being pursued by police crashed into a security barrier at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville Texas.
Jon Gagne, spokesman for the Naval Air Station, said the gate guard tried to greet the vehicle – a 1996 GMC Sierra pickup – as it approached Wednesday night, but the driver sped through without stopping. Senior Cpl. Charlie Ramirez said pop-up barriers were activated beyond the gate and the vehicle crashed into them.
"There are two guardhouses when you enter the grounds of the base," Ramirez said, according to Mexican newspaper La Jornada. "The vehicle did not stop at the door of the first guard and tried to enter the naval air base when the guards activated safety barriers that leave the ground to prevent anyone from entering the base itself, and the car crashed head-on.”
No victims have been identified, but they are purportedly from Honduras. The nine injured migrants are still being treated, some listed in critical condition.
Kingsville Police had been in pursuit of the vehicle as it headed east toward the base. Kingsville is about 40 miles southwest of Corpus Christi.
Accidents involving undocumented immigrants on or near the border have become frequent as U.S. Border Patrol has ramped up security and immigrants take more drastic measures when entering the country.
In April of last year, four undocumented immigrants traveling in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley were injured when the truck they were in rolled over several times. A few days later, nine undocumented immigrants from Mexico were killed when a minivan carrying 19 people rolled over in Palmview, Texas.
Palmview authorities said the accident happened blocks away from where the Border Patrol had conducted a traffic stop. The driver stopped for brief moment but then sped off in a failed attempt to get away with his human cargo.
All of these fatal accidents were caused by smugglers overloading vehicles with migrants in the hopes of making higher profits.
"The more people he can pack into a vehicle and get through, the more money he makes," said Captain Tom Copeland, of the Goliad County Sheriff's Office, following a July 2012 accident that left 15 people dead in Texas, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"It's just a tragedy for the families ... that are wondering if their family members made it," he added.