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Truck carrying 22 immigrants crashes, three injured

April 05, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

A truck carrying 22 suspected undocumented immigrants crashed into a canal Thursday after the driver failed to yield to an Imperial County Sheriff's Office deputy.

Deputy Kevin White observed a pickup weaving in the northbound lane of Forrester Road south of Andre Road around 2:25 a.m. Thursday, according to a California Highway Patrol press release.

White attempted to stop the vehicle to check the driver for possible DUI violations, but the driver did not yield to his emergency lights and siren, the release states.

The driver, later identified as Guadalupe Ortiz, 37, of the state of Michoacan, Mexico, turned west on Andre Road at speeds up to 60 mph before turning south on Griswold Road.

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The driver apparently failed to see the Westside Main Canal at the end of the road and drove into it.

White observed people emerge from the bed of the truck. All 22 occupants, determined to be undocumented immigrants, made it out of the canal and were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol.

Ortiz complained of pain to his left knee while passengers Jose Villa, 21, of Michoacan, Mexico, and Juan Gomez, 44, of Aguas Calientes, Mexico, complained of pain to their necks and heads.

The three, whose injuries were described as minor, were transported to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, the release states. All were treated and released.

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