DEL RIO, Texas — ABC-7 has learned two El Pasoans were injured and hospitalized when their pickup truck was struck by another pickup loaded with migrants, killing eight of them, near the south Texas border town of Del Rio earlier this week.
Family friends said Jachin Ford, a youth leader at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in El Paso, and his daughter both underwent surgery following the crash and remained in the hospital recovering on Thursday. The pair were on a fishing trip at the time of Monday afternoon’s crash.
That crash happened when Texas Department of Public Safety troopers were chasing a red Dodge pickup truck carrying migrants on U.S. Highway 277 after the driver refused to pull over for a traffic violation. That truck then collided head-on with a white Ford F-150 carrying the El Pasoans. It happened nearly 30 miles north of Del Rio.
All eight of the people killed and a surviving passenger in the Dodge pickup were immigrants in the U.S. without authorization, according to DPS.
In a statement, the agency did not specify what type of traffic violation occurred that prompted patrol troopers to pursue the Dodge pickup.
The people killed were all Mexican nationals between the ages of 18 and 20, according to Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez. He said seven were men and one was a woman.
The driver of the Dodge pickup truck, Sebastian Tovar, 24, ran away following the crash, but was later arrested. A DPS spokesperson said Tovar was booked into federal custody and additional state charges were pending.
Earlier this month, 13 people were killed in a crash shortly after a Ford Expedition entered California through a section of border fence with Mexico that was cut away, apparently by smugglers, according to immigration officials. The Expedition crammed with 25 people struck a tractor-trailer.
In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas conceded that a recent increase in children traveling alone across the Mexican border was a challenge. He noted that the number of Border Patrol encounters at the border has been steadily increasing since last April. But, he added, “This is not new,” citing previous surges in border crossings in 2019 and 2014.
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