EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to stop a car moments before it crashed and killed seven people Thursday morning in Downtown El Paso.
The car slammed into a business about 2:15 a.m. near the intersection of Paisano Drive and San Antonio Street. El Paso police confirmed seven people died, and three others suffered life-threatening injuries. Officers with the Special Traffic Investigations unit are working to identify the victims and notify next-of-kin.
It remains unclear why Border Patrol agents attempted to stop the vehicle, and there is no indication that the driver led agents on a chase.
Border agents “attempted to stop the vehicle, and the vehicle didn’t want to stop. That’s basically it,” Border Patrol spokesman Agent Mario Escalante said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement Thursday morning, saying the vehicle fled when agents assigned to the Santa Teresa and El Paso stations attempted to stop it.
“At this time, the U.S. Border Patrol is cooperating with the active investigation, which is being led by the El Paso Police Department. The incident is also under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility,” the statement said.
Border agents immediately notified the El Paso Police Department.
First responders are taking extra precautions as they attempt to remove the vehicle. A police spokesman said the car crashed near a high-voltage line that could pose some danger, and crews also have to move a container, which could require a crane.
In late January, a woman from Ecuador was killed in the same location on Paisano Drive after her smuggler crashed during a pursuit with Border Patrol. Police charged him with intoxication manslaughter.
Motorists should expect closures on Paisano Drive between Santa Fe Street and Coldwell Street through the morning hours.
This is a developing story. Look for update as more information becomes available.