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Charges sought against driver of vehicle that allegedly struck and killed immigrant

November 20, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The U.S. Border Patrol and the state Highway Patrol are seeking charges against a man who was the alleged driver of a "load" vehicle that struck and killed an immigrant in the west Imperial County desert area Sunday.

While the man's name was not released, Border Patrol authorities said he is alleged to be an immigrant smuggler.

Authorities added they are going to seek federal charges against him for transporting undocumented immigrants across the border.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in El Centro, the suspect was to be arraigned today.

Meanwhile, Highway Patrol officials said they plan to seek hit-and-run charges against the man.

According to the Highway Patrol, the man was the driver of a load vehicle that was driving behind another load vehicle in the area of Highway 2 and Coyote 2.

One man who was in the first vehicle, thought to be an illegal immigrant, either fell or jumped out of the vehicle. He was struck by the second vehicle and died.

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Both drivers fled in the vehicles. While one vehicle escaped, the truck that had struck the man was stopped in the Jacumba area and the Border Patrol apprehended all 11 people who fled from the vehicle.

One of those who was captured was suspected of being the driver/smuggler.

Border Patrol Agent Dionicio Delgado said in the past fiscal year — Sept. 30, 2000, to Oct. 31 of this year — there was an emphasis placed on identifying and prosecuting smugglers and he said that effort will continue this year.

He said it is important that smugglers know they will be punished when caught.

>>Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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