9 migrants from SUV have major injuries after Imperial County crash that killed 13: CHP

California
Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash involving a semitruck and an SUV in Holtville, near the California border with Mexico, on March 2, 2021. (KYMA via Associated Press)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash involving a semitruck and an SUV in Holtville, near the California border with Mexico, on March 2, 2021. (KYMA via Associated Press)

Nine migrants in an SUV packed with 25 people that drove through an opening in a border wall suffered major injuries after their vehicle slammed into a tractor-trailer and killed 13 others inside, the California Highway Patrol said Thursday.

Seventeen occupants in the 1997 Ford Expedition were Mexican — 10 who died and seven who were injured.

The Guatemalan government said Thursday that a 23-year-old Guatemalan woman died. Two Guatemalans had major injuries.

The driver was among the 13 killed in the SUV, from Tuesday’s collision in California’s Imperial Valley, a farming region that produces many of the winter vegetables sold in U.S. supermarkets. The CHP said three suffered moderate injuries.

The nationalities of two others who died and three who were injured were unknown or undisclosed. The Mexican government said 10 of its citizens died and the Guatemalan government said one of its citizens died, but U.S. authorities have not released the identities, ages or nationalities of the deceased.

The youngest injured was a 15-year-old girl whose name and nationality were undetermined, according to CHP. She had major injuries. The oldest was a 46-year-old woman from Guatemala City, also with major injuries.

The injured are being treated at hospitals in San Diego, El Centro, Brawley and Palm Springs, California.

The Border Patrol said surveillance video showed the Expedition and a Chevrolet Suburban drive through an opening in the border wall about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of the crash. The Suburban carried 19 people, and it caught fire for unknown reasons on a nearby interstate after entering the U.S. All escaped the vehicle and were taken into custody by the Border Patrol, which said it was not pursuing either SUV.

The Expedition soon struck the tractor-trailer, whose driver, a 68-year-old man from El Centro, suffered major injuries.

The breached barrier was made of steel bollards that were built before former President Donald Trump blanketed much of the border with taller barriers that go deeper into the ground.

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