The U.S. Border Patrol was involved in two separate crashes, one of them fatal, after agents began chasing vehicles whose occupants were suspected of immigration violations near the Mexico border in San Diego County on Tuesday, according to KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.
A man who crossed the border illegally and his getaway driver were killed and a woman was in critical condition after slamming into a big rig near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, and five occupants of a minivan were hurt when the vehicle's driver lost control and crashed, officials told the San Diego station.
The fatal incident began when a man and woman were seen illegally crossing the border on foot near Otay Mesa just before 5 p.m., Border Patrol said.
The two people then got into a white Volvo, described by authorities as a getaway car. When agents tried to pull the car over, the driver allegedly refused to stop.
The car had been chased for less than a mile when it crashed into a semi-truck at the intersection of Otay Mesa Road and Sanyo Avenue. The car went under the big rig, causing its roof to become sheared off.
The driver and one passenger, both males, died at the scene. A 20-year-old female passenger was airlifted to a hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries.
"We don't know what country they're from," Border Patrol Agent Justin Castrejon said. "The fact that two people did illegally cross the border, illegally, in between the ports of entry, this is now an alien-smuggling event."
Police believe the getaway car was stolen in the San Diego area.
The minivan incident occurred around the same time, just after 5 p.m., around 55 miles east in a rural desert area near the community of Boulevard.
Border Patrol agents had tried to pull over a blue Mazda MPV near Old Highway 80 and McCain Valley Road for “possible immigration-related violations,” according to California Highway Patrol.
The driver did not stop, leading them on a chase, CHP said.
The driver was speeding southbound on Shasta Way just south of Highway 94 when she lost control of the vehicle while going over a dip, crashing into a steel fence and utility pole before overturning, officials said.
The driver, a 23-year-old woman from San Diego, was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital to be treated for minor injuries and was in custody with Border Patrol.
Four men who said they were from Mexico were lying in the backseat, not wearing seatbelts, according to CHP.
Two of the men, ages 25 and 27, were also taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital. The other two, ages 24 and 39, declined medical aid and were in Border Patrol custody.
Investigations into both incidents were underway.
KTLA's Erika Martin contributed to this report.