A truck carrying 11 people led US Border Patrol agents on a chase that ended with the deaths of three people in California.
The incident began Thursday afternoon near the San Diego-Mexico border when Border Patrol Agents found tracks of multiple vehicles from the border going north into the US, which are typical of a “drive-through smuggling event,” according to a Custom and Border Protection news release.
Agents also found a piece of a vehicle near the area.
Minutes later, agents spotted a pickup truck missing a similar part and tried to stop it. The driver didn’t stop and a pursuit began around Interstate 8. Agents then put spike strips on the road to stop the truck. As the truck drove over the spikes, the release says it crashed, rolled over and sent passengers flying.
Three people — two men and one woman — were pronounced dead at the scene. Of the 11 people in the truck, 10 were men. The California Highway Patrol also said the three people who died had an unknown immigration status and the other passengers were Mexican nationals, according to the release.
The driver of the truck, Luis Alberto Virgen, 21, of Tijuana, was taken into custody by California Highway Patrol. Virgen was charged with three counts of manslaughter.
Another vehicle believed to be involved in the smuggling scheme was also found after the crash. A man was taken into custody, the release said.