A suspected migrant smuggler and seven others are dead after a collision in rural Texas.
The incident occurred on US Highway 57 near the farming community of Batesville, and left two innocent Americans dead, local authorities said.
The early-morning crash happened some 50 miles from the border around 6:30am local time, and state officials later revealed the pair hailed from Georgia. Both were in the front seat of an SUV struck by the suspected smuggler’s vehicle.
That car, cops said, had been evading arrest from the Zavala County Sherriff’s Office just before the crash – which happened as it attempted to pass an 18-wheeler in a no-passing zone.
DPS Troopers later confirmed that several of the deceased – including the aforementioned smuggler – were from Honduras. In a statement, officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety said their investigation was ongoing.
The accident comes as the Biden Administration continues to struggle with the flow of migrants from South and Central America – as 2.47million were stopped at the border in fiscal year 2023, up from the previous record 2.4million the year before.
A suspected migrant smuggler and seven others are dead after a collision on a highway in Batesville, Texas. After crash – which happened some 50 miles from the border – state officials said the pair hailed from Georgia, and that they had been in this SUV struck by the other car
That car, a white Honda that laid shattered after the incident, was evading arrest from the Zavala County Sherriff’s Office when it passed an 18-wheeler in a no-passing zone, colliding with the Americans’ SUV
Sharing photos of the two totaled vehicles, Lieutenant Chris Olivarez of the department said: [Texas DPS] is investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash on US 57 near Batesville.
‘The driver in a Honda passenger car from Houston suspected of human smuggling was evading from Zavala COSO when the driver passed an 18-wheeler in a no-passing zone,’ the officer added.
‘The driver drove head-on with a Chevy SUV, causing the vehicle to burst into flames, killing the driver & passenger from Georgia.
‘As a result, five passengers, including the suspected smuggler of the Honda, were killed.
‘Troopers confirmed several of the deceased are from Honduras. Identities will be released once the next of kin is notified,’ the department spokesperson added.
‘This is still an ongoing investigation.’
Police later clarified that there were six people in the Honda – all of whom died.
While still being vetted, the crash killed all involved, cops confirmed – and also caused an explosion at the scene that was captured in a photo.
While still being vetted, the crash killed all involved, cops confirmed – and also caused an explosion at the scene that was captured in a photo. The car on fire was the suspected smuggler’s SUV, but cops did not say whether the migrants were alive when the fire broke out
The stretch of highway remained closed for more than three hours following the crash, which comes less than six months after another human smuggler found himself in a fatal wreck on the very same road.
In that case, cops from the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office said that two men – both believed to be migrants – when the SUV they had been inside collided with a semi-tanker truck that had been hauling fuel.
Much like the more recent incident, the crash created a fiery explosion – though both the driver of the confirmed smuggling vehicle and and the semi managed to survive, and afterwards were transported to a trauma hospital in San Antonio.
The parties involved this time were not so lucky, though as of 4:35pm ET, none of them have been named.
Olivarez, however, did confirm that six people had been inside the five-seater Honda at the time of the crash, while the two from Georgia were in the Chevrolet.
Everyone in each vehicle was killed, officials also confirmed – sharing photos of each laying in ruins at the scene, with the SUV visibly burnt out.
Cops did not say whether the migrants were still alive when the car was engulfed in flames – a scene that was also shared by Olivarez in a post to X, formerly Twitter.
MAY 4: A similar crash involving a confirmed smuggler happened on the same highway six months ago, though in that case the driver of the smuggler’s vehicle survived. Two migrants, however, lost their lives
The crash – one of several involving either suspected or confirmed migrant smugglers – remains under investigation.
The incident further underscores the historic numbers of people heading north in search of a new life in the US, often at the expense of American citizens in places like Texas, as well as sanctuary cities like New York.
It also highlights the dangers that come with the amount of travelers traversing not only US borders, but the boundaries of other countries as well – as most migrants hail from Venezuela, which is currently in the midst of its own political crisis, along with an economic one as well.
This year alone, crossings of the Darien Gap – a stretch of treacherous jungle that connects Central America to the South at the border between Panama and Colombia – shot up to an estimated 500,000, up from around 400,000 the year before.
Prior to that, annual crossings for that route had been pegged at 200,000 or less, shining a light on the staggering rise in migration which has been felt in the States for the past few years.
In August, the U.S. Border Patrol made 181,509 arrests at the Mexican border, up 37 percent from July but little changed from August 2022 and well below the high of more than 220,000 in December, according to figures released Friday.
It reversed a plunge in the numbers after new asylum restrictions were introduced in May. That comes after years of steadily rising migration levels produced by economic crises and social turmoil in many of the countries people are fleeing.
The incident further underscores the historic numbers of people heading north in search of a new life in the US, often at the expense of American citizens in places like Texas
The crisis is also being felt further north in places like Chicago (pictured), where a group of migrants were pictured exiting a bus near a Greyhound station after being shuttled from Texas
It also highlights the dangers that come with the amount of travelers traversing not only US borders, but the boundaries of other countries as well – as most migrants hail from Venezuela Migrants from South America are seen here arriving in Costa Rica this past month
The US is also experiencing a big increase in arriving using a perilous route through Panama’s Darién Gap jungle – a stretch of jungle that connects Central America to the South Pictured: A migrant carrying a child as they traverse the route during their journey to the US in July
Once, just dozens of migrants from Central American countries would pass through Irapuato by train each day, said Marta Ponce, a 73-year-old from who has spent more than a decade providing aid to those who travel the tracks running through her town.
Now, that number regularly reaches the thousands.
Worsening matters migrants are arriving from all over, including African nations, Russia, Ukraine, and even China and India.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, has pushed Mexico and Central American nations to control migratory flows and now requires asylum seekers to register through an app known as CBP One – despite its failure to address crises occurring in New York and Texas on American soil.
It also recently announced it would grant temporary protected status to nearly a half million more Venezuelans already in the country.
In September, border patrol sources told ABC News that nearly nine thousand migrants were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border that day alone – the highest rate since May.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, meanwhile, has repeatedly eviscerated Biden for allowing the unfolding disaster.
Cities like Eagle Pass – which is just an hour’s drive from the crash site – say they are at absolute capacity and cannot handle any more migrants streaming across the border
In the last handful of days, El Paso has seen an influx of some 2,000 migrants per day
Migrants breach concertina wire set by the Texas National Guard at the border between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso
In an aerial view, migrants are seen grouped together while waiting to be processed on the Ciudad Juarez side of the border last month in El Paso
This is the astonishing moment a group of 100 migrants stormed across the Rio Grande
National guard in boats and air boats and razor wire along the banks trying to discourage the migrants from crossing the Rio Grand and entering the USA on September 23
Migrants wait to be processed in Eagle Pass after overwhelming the small Texas border town
Thousands of migrants are pictured lining up to be processed on arrival in Eagle Pass, Texas, in September, when crossings reached a new record high. At one point the line stretched five miles
Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas, meanwhile, recently declared a state of emergency, warning that the town’s hospitals are also becoming overwhelmed.
The town is located just an hour’s drive from the scene of Wednesday’s crash.
Late last month, the Biden administration announced it would grant temporary protected status to nearly a half million more Venezuelans already in the country.
Activists like Ponce say to expect other methods of crossing – such as migration along Mexico’s train lines and more incidents of smuggling – to grow as a result, especially after Biden’s recent rescinding of Title 42.
The COVID-era policy that allowed border agents to more freely send migrants back across the border.
Meanwhile, migrant numbers continue to rise, forcing Texas officers stationed along the Southern border to remain on high alert, looking out for both human and drug smuggling.
In the case of the recent crash, DPS officials said the driver of the Honda was suspected of human smuggling. Their investigation remains ongoing.