Texas Border Business
On March 23, 2023, at approximately 9:26 a.m., a Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office deputy witnessed a 2014 GMC Sierra four door pickup truck traveling northbound on Highway 80 south of Rodeo, New Mexico, at approximately mile marker 1. The Sierra was traveling approximately 80 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour speed zone. The deputy attempted to initiate a vehicle stop at mile marker 2 but the Sierra failed to yield to the deputy’s emergency equipment. The sheriff’s deputy pursued the Sierra for approximately one mile and then deactivated his emergency equipment at mile marker 3, pulled over, and parked on the side of Highway 80 discontinuing his pursuit. The deputy did not have direct radio communication with the U.S. Border Patrol.
A Border Patrol agent who was parked at mile marker 2 spotted the Sierra being pursued by the sheriff’s deputy at approximately 9:28 a.m. The agent followed the sheriff’s deputy and continued the pursuit with his emergency equipment activated when the deputy terminated the pursuit at mile marker 3. The pursuing agent notified a Supervisory Border Patrol agent that the Sierra had failed to yield and was traveling at a high rate of speed. The agent reported there was limited non-involved vehicle traffic in the area. A second agent joined the pursuit after mile marker 4 and took the lead position. The pursuing agent notified the supervisory agent that the Sierra veered into oncoming traffic at approximately 9:38 a.m. The supervisory agent instructed the agents to back off from the Sierra to see if the fleeing driver would slow down. The pursuing agents kept the Sierra in sight while increasing their distance to approximately one-half mile.
Two Border Patrol agents with vehicle immobilization devices were positioned separately ahead of the pursuit, near mile marker 27.5 and 30.5. The agent at mile marker 27.5 requested, and was granted, permission from the supervisory agent to deploy the immobilization device but did not deploy the device due to the presence of a non-involved vehicle in front of the Sierra as it passed. This Border Patrol agent then joined the pursuit following the first two agents, who were approximately a half mile from the Sierra. One of the two agents at mile marker 30.5 radioed he had successfully contacted the left tires of the Sierra with the vehicle immobilization device at 9:44 a.m. These agents recovered the immobilization device and then followed the pursuit to assist once the Sierra came to a stop.
The Sierra continued northbound for approximately two miles at a high rate of speed but slowed down to drive around an RV traveling in the opposite direction which had pulled in front of it to enter the Shady Tree truck stop. The Sierra then accelerated onto the on ramp for Interstate 10 after passing the RV, veered into the opposing lane of traffic and, at 9:45 a.m., collided with a New Mexico Department of Transportation vehicle which was not involved with the pursuit.
The five pursing Border Patrol agents contacted El Paso Sector Communications via radio and requested Emergency Medical Services after arriving at the scene of the collision. Two agents, who were emergency medical technicians, triaged the injured on scene, provided medical care and assisted in extracting both drivers from their respective vehicles. Hidalgo County EMS and Hidalgo County Fire Department arrived at the scene and the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator declared the driver of the Sierra, later identified as a United States citizen, deceased. A female citizen of the U.S. and an undocumented migrant, who were passengers of the Sierra, were taken by Hidalgo County EMS to Gila Regional Medical Center where they were treated for injuries and later released. Native Air Ambulance flew two undocumented migrants, who were occupants of the Sierra, to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, where they were treated for injuries sustained in the collision. The driver of the New Mexico Department of Transportation vehicle was transported by Native Air Ambulance to Banner Main Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., where he was treated for injuries sustained in the collision.
New Mexico State Police and Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility special agents responded to the scene of the collision.
This incident is under investigation by New Mexico State Police and under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General was also notified.