The victims were among 10 people inside a 2019 Chevrolet Cruze that Border Patrol agents chased after an alert from a border sensor, KFOX14 of El Paso reported.
Three of the victims were illegal immigrants — two from Mexico, one from Guatemala — and were being smuggled into the U.S., the Border Patrol said Saturday. The other four victims were El Paso residents: an 18-year-old male driver, two women and another man.
“Human smuggling is not a victimless crime,” El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Patrol Gloria Chavez said in a statement. “This is a tragic loss for our El Paso Community.”
Injured in the crash were two men, ages 18 and 25, and a 16-year-old boy, authorities said.
Border Patrol agents received the alert about a suspicious vehicle near the border with Sunland Park, N.M., about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the El Paso Times.
After spotting the vehicle, Border Patrol agents attempted a traffic stop but later ended the chase over safety concerns as the Cruze sped away, the Times reported.
Soon afterward, the Cruze failed to negotiate a curve, crossed a median and crashed into a parked trailer, KFOX14 reported.
An immigrants’ advocacy group on Friday called the crash an “avoidable incident” and demanded an investigation.
“BNHR is devastated for the families and the seven individuals whose lives were lost in this terrible and avoidable incident,” Fernando Garcia, director of the Border Network for Human Rights, said in a statement to the Times.
“We can only imagine the circumstances in which this incident might have happened, and though we are not blaming anyone at this time, we have also witnessed that this is not the only time when a reckless persecution from the U.S. Border Patrol has endangered immigrants in our area.”