Holtville, California (AP)-An SUV carrying 25 people hits a tractor trailer-Kills 13 people inside-An unmarked brick cemetery is almost a mile across the border from Mexico The burial site of immigrants who lost their lives to the remote California desert.
Authorities are investigating whether anyone involved in smuggling was involved in the early morning crash on Tuesday, which killed the 22-year-old male SUV driver and 12 passengers. The Mexican government said that 10 of the dead were Mexican citizens, and the nationalities of the other three were undecided.
Omar Watson, director of the border department of the California Highway Patrol, said that in 1
Authorities say the cause of the crash has not yet been determined, and it is also unknown why so many people were packed in a car that can safely accommodate eight people. However, as we all know, smugglers pack people under extremely unsafe conditions to maximize profits.
The crash occurred during the peak harvest season in California’s Imperial Valley, where many lettuce, onions, broccoli and winter vegetables were provided to supermarkets in the United States. Holtville (Holtville) is a small town without parking lights. Its large central square has a gazebo and calls itself the carrot capital of the world.
In the late 1990s, after the strengthening of law enforcement in San Diego, the area became the main route for illegal border crossings. Many people have crossed the National Canal, an aqueduct that crosses the border and releases water from the Colorado River to farms through an extensive network of canals.
Behind the Terrace Park Cemetery in Holtville, rows of bricks form piles of bricks, marking the unidentified remains of the dead, many of them immigrants.
In 2001, John Hunter founded a volunteer organization “Water Station”, which filled water cans in huge plastic buckets for use by dehydrated immigrants.
Hunter said: “I’m trying to figure out the death toll,” his brother Duncan strongly advocated serving as a member of Congress to build the border wall.
Illegal border crossings declined sharply in the mid-2000s, but the area still attracts immigrants and was a priority for the construction of the wall during the administration of former President Donald Trump. His government’s first wall project was in Calexico.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department said late Tuesday that agents of its Homeland Security Investigation Department “have launched a population smuggling investigation (into the air crash on Tuesday). The investigation is ongoing and there are no further details.”
When the police arrived about 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of San Diego, some passengers tried to climb out of the crumpled SUV, while others wandered in the fields. The front end of the rig was pushed into the left side of the SUV, and two empty trailers were mounted behind it.
Watson said: “It was a very chaotic scene.”
The Border Patrol said its agents did not pursue the car.
Officials said the people in the car were between 15 and 53 years old and were mixed men and women. The driver, from Moxicali, Mexico, was at the border and was one of the victims. This large rig driver from nearby El Centro was 68 years old and was hospitalized with serious injuries.
Passenger injuries range from mild to severe, including fractures and head trauma. They are being taken care of in several hospitals. One person received treatment in the hospital and was released.
The crash occurred at about 6:15 am, under a clear sky, at an intersection outside Holtville, about 11 miles (18 kilometers) north of the border. Authorities said the trailer and its two empty containers were driving north on National Highway 115 when the SUV on Interstate 115 was driving towards it from a road with a stop sign.
A report from the California Highway Patrol stated that the SUV entered the intersection directly in front of the large drilling rig and hit the left side of the SUV. Both cars stopped on their dirty shoulders.
It is unclear whether the SUV has parked or parked before entering the highway. The speed is also unknown.
Jake Sanchez, an official of the Health Protection Center, said that the speed limit of trailers on the highway is 55 mph (88.5 km/h). The speed of vehicles on the other road is 55 mph.
The maximum payload that the Ford Expedition could carry in 1997 was 2,000 pounds. Frank Boris, the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defect Investigation, said that if there are 25 people inside, it will easily exceed the payload limit, which will increase the burden on the brakes and make handling more difficult.
Boris, who runs a safety consulting business, said: “You will have greater stopping distances, delayed reactions to steering inputs, and potential overreactions to any type of high-speed lane changes.”
Boris said that even if not so heavy, SUVs of that era were often top-heavy.
He said: “Because all the payload exceeds the center of gravity of the vehicle, it will become more unstable.”
The crash occurred on a verdant farm where various vegetables and alfalfa were grown for cattle feed. During the winter harvest, many workers commute from Mexico to get off work every day, taking buses and SUVs from downtown Calexico to the fields before dawn.
Associated Press reporter, Stephanie Dazio in Los Angeles, Julie Watson in San Diego, Anita Snow in Phoenix, Tom Crisril in Detroit and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City.