Head-on collision in Texas kills 8; smuggling suspected

Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Eight people are dead after a head-on collision on a rural Texas highway between a vehicle suspected of carrying migrants and an SUV, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Wednesday.

The crash happened at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday on U.S. Highway 57 near the town of Batesville in Zavala County, about 83 miles southwest of San Antonio, the DPS said.


While allegedly trying to evade the Zavala County Sheriff's Office, a Honda passenger car from Houston, driven by a 21-year-old "suspected of human smuggling," passed an 18-wheeler in a no-passing zone and drove "head-on" into a Chevy SUV, causing that vehicle to "burst into flames," DPS spokesman Lt. Chris Olivarez said in a statement on social media.

The driver and passenger of the Chevy SUV, who were from Georgia, were killed, Olivarez said.

All six passengers in the Honda were also killed. The deceased migrants in the Honda were from Honduras, Olivarez said.

The DPS released photos that showed debris from both completely destroyed vehicles strewn across the highway.


Names of the victims have not been released pending the notification of family members, the DPS said.

The crash remains under investigation.

This area is no stranger to migrant deaths. Last year, a local worker heard cries for help coming from an abandoned 18-wheeler near San Antonio amid the crippling Texas heat and humidity and discovered 53 migrants dead in the trailer. That incident is thought to be the deadliest human smuggling case in the United States since records have been kept.

There have been other deadly accidents involving smuggling operations in rural parts of Texas.

About a year ago, one person was killed and 11 others taken to the hospital in the town of La Joya, just a few miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. In that case, the driver of a car ran a red light while evading local law enforcement. Police suspected human smuggling because of the number of people in the vehicle.

In June 2022, four migrants were killed and two others injured when the vehicle carrying the migrants collided with a large truck.

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