Rollover of SUV with 14 passengers leaves three hurt

March 08, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

OCOTILLO — A driver transporting undocumented immigrants in a sport utility vehicle fled the scene after crashing the vehicle near Highway 98 Wednesday.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the unidentified driver was heading north through the open desert at high speeds while transporting 14 undocumented immigrants.

As the driver approached Highway 98 four miles west of Mount Signal at 6:25 p.m., he made an unsafe turn, causing the SUV to overturn and come to rest on the south shoulder of the highway, according to the Highway Patrol.

The SUV landed on its roof, U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Manny Figueroa reported.

After the collision, the driver fled north on foot through the open desert.

The collision was witnessed by a Border Patrol agent parked on the south shoulder of Highway 98. The agent had not been following the SUV at the time of the accident, Figueroa said.


The group of 14 immigrants ranged in age from 13 to 50. The immigrants were all from Mexico except three teenage girls from Honduras.

Three people were transported to El Centro Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries, Figueroa said. Further information, including the identities of the injured and the severity of their injuries, was unavailable.

The 11 immigrants from Mexico were taken to Mexicali and the three from Honduras were detained for deportation proceedings, Figueroa said.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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