Two Dead in Suspected Human Smuggling Crash


COTULLA, TX — Two men died after being ejected from a vehicle involved in a rollover crash near Cotulla on Wednesday evening. 

This followed a pursuit by U.S. Border Patrol agents who suspected the vehicle of being involved in human smuggling.

At 7:15 p.m., on March 27, a Border Patrol agent reported suspected smuggling activity involving a red sedan near Farm to Market Road 133 and Interstate 35. 

Agents had previously seen the vehicle traveling in the area, and at 7:55 p.m., they attempted to stop the sedan by activating their emergency equipment. The vehicle failed to yield and sped away.

A second Border Patrol agent deployed a Vehicle Immobilization Device (VID) on FM 133, successfully puncturing the sedan's tires. Despite this, the sedan continued onto I-35. At approximately 7:58 p.m., the vehicle rolled over in the median of I-35, about 2.9 miles from the VID deployment site.

Border Patrol agents arrived at the scene 20 seconds after the crash and found two male passengers ejected from the vehicle, lying 17 feet apart on the southbound lanes of I-35. A civilian witness reported that one of the men had been run over by a semi-truck. The driver, a U.S. citizen, was trapped inside the vehicle.

La Salle County Emergency Medical Services arrived at 8:04 p.m. and attempted to revive the ejected men, but both were pronounced dead at 8:11 p.m. by a local justice of the peace. The men were identified as Mexican citizens. No other migrants were found at the scene.

The driver was airlifted to the University Hospital of San Antonio and later released on March 28. The Texas Department of Public Safety assumed custody of the driver upon his release from the hospital.

Texas Department of Public Safety Rangers and Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the incident. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is also reviewing the case. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has been notified, and CBP’s National Use of Force Review Board will conduct a review after the investigation concludes.

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