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Feds probe deadly crash on I-10 that involved 'attempted human smuggling'

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Feds probe deadly crash on I-10 that involved 'attempted human smuggling'

18-year-old driver 'failed to yield' and crossed median after DPS trooper attempted traffic stop

  • DPS

Three people were killed, and five seriously injured, when the driver of a SUV crashed into a semi-tractor trailer after refusing to stop for an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper Thursday morning, authorities said.

At 8:38 a.m., a DPS trooper attempted to stop a Toyota SUV for "reckless driving" along the westbound lanes of Interstate 10 near milepost 214 near Eloy, Ariz., said Bart Graves, a DPS spokesman. The driver "failed to yield," and at some point, drove across the dirt median and into the eastbound traffic lanes where he collided with a semi-tractor trailer.

There were nine people in the SUV, including the driver, who was identified as an 18-year-old man, Graves said. Five people were airlifted to hospitals in Phoenix and Tucson, including the driver, who was injured and taken to Tucson hospital.

Two people died at the scene, said Graves, and a third person died at the hospital.

Video captured at the scene shows a silver SUV with heavy damage after colliding with a semi-tractor trailer carrying cargo for Amazon. The force of the crash is apparent as the SUV's engine is sitting on the road separated from the vehicle in one video captured by a driver heading eastbound.

A third vehicle sustained some damage, Graves said. "We are working to determine how that occurred," he said. The driver of the semi-truck, and the third vehicle, sustained minor injuries, Graves said.

U.S. Border Patrol agents were dispatched to the scene following a requests for help from DPS, the agency said in a statement. Along with Border Patrol, special agents with Homeland Security Investigations, a part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrived at the scene. HSI agents will investigate what the agency called "attempted human smuggling activity," said Yasmeen Pitts-O'Keefe, an ICE spokeswoman.

Last month, two people were killed and four seriously injured when the driver of a pickup truck fled a Border Patrol agent and crashed into trees near Amado, Ariz.

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