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SUV loaded with immigrants plunges off embankment

April 11, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

A sport-utility vehicle carrying at least 13 undocumented immigrants crashed Tuesday afternoon when it went off an Interstate 8 on-ramp at Forrester Road west of El Centro.

The SUV was northbound on Forrester Road at an unknown speed approaching Interstate 8 around 3:20 p.m. when the driver attempted to take the eastbound on-ramp to the freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer Joe Somenek said.

The van went off the northern side of the on-ramp, down a steep embankment and rolled, according to a CHP press release.

The vehicle came to rest on its side against a tree in the open area between the I-8 roadway and the on-ramp embankment.

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An unconfirmed number of occupants ran from the vehicle and were not apprehended, the press release states.

Eight people involved in the accident were transported to El Centro Regional Medical Center by Gold Cross Ambulance Service and five were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Agents were also looking in the area for the occupants who fled.

Antonio Alvarez, 32, and Antonio Robles, 20, both of Mexicali, Oscar Ramirez Cervantes, 25, of Guaymas, Mexico, and Jose Salvador Florido, 24, of Hermosa Leon, Mexico, all had complaints of pain and other minor injuries. They were not transported for medical treatment.

Carmen C. Rivas, 18, of Mexicali, Jose Ramirez, 19, and Anselmo Ramirez Garcia, 77, both of Aguascalientes, Mexico, Salvador Guerrero, 20, of La Piedad, Mexico, Jesus Alcala Nunez, 28, of Michoacan, Mexico, Blanca Gutierrez, 22, of Mexico City and a 2-year-old boy and 15-year-old boy were transported to El Centro Regional Medical Center for various visible injuries and complaints of pain.

No severe injuries were reported, according to the press release.

Gavino Gutierrez Perez, 41, of Chiapas, Mexico, was not injured in the accident, according to the press release.

The driver of the vehicle has not been identified, the press release states.

The accident is still under investigation.

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

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