SAN DIEGO – Two people struck and killed by an SUV after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border were identified as a man and woman, both 30, while three of seven people detained following the deaths are minors, authorities said Tuesday.
The fatalities occurred early Sunday on southbound Interstate 5 after the two ran from a 1999 Dodge Caravan that carried them across the border the wrong way on the freeway, according to Border Patrol public-affairs officer Tekae Michael.
Customs and Border Protection officials said they’ve identified both victims, who crossed into the country illegally, but did not release their names.
Six of the other seven people in the van were Mexican nationals, including three boys under 18 and men aged 18, 27 and 34, the oldest of whom was driving the vehicle. The other occupant, a man, was a 24-year-old Chinese national.
All nine entered the country illegally, and the driver will face federal prosecution, Border Patrol officials said.
“This dangerous and ultimately fatal incident provides another example of why we caution people that their lives are often put at risk when deciding to try and cross the border illegally,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for the CBP in San Diego.
CBP officers at the San Ysidro Port of Entry witnessed the van cross the international boundary the wrong way on the southbound I-5 about 1:45 a.m. and sent a pursuit vehicle northbound to try to locate it.
About 2:05 a.m., the man and woman ran into the southbound lanes of the freeway into the path of an oncoming Chevrolet Trailblazer and died at the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol. The driver of the Trailblazer attempted to get out of the way of the pair, but was unsuccessful. The driver pulled over to the right shoulder immediately after the crash and called 911. Border Patrol agents detained the seven others who also attempted to run away.