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Eight dead in US crash after police chased suspected human smuggler

AUSTIN (AP) – Eight people in Texas, United States died on Wednesday when the driver of a car suspected of carrying smuggled migrants fled police and smashed into an oncoming vehicle on a South Texas highway.

The crash happened around 6.30am when the driver of a 2009 Honda Civic tried to outrun deputies from the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office and attempted to pass a semi truck, the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) said. The Civic collided with a 2015 Chevrolet Equinox, which caught fire.

Everyone in both vehicles was killed, according to DPS.

That includes the 21-year-old driver of the Civic, who was from Houston, and his five passengers. Some of the passengers were from Honduras, department spokesman Christopher Olivarez said in a statement. The two people in the Equinox were from Georgia.

The identities of those killed will be released to their families first, Olivarez said.

It was unclear how fast the vehicles were going, but photos provided by law enforcement show both were mangled and most of the Equinox was burned.

Wednesday’s crash near Batesville – about 80 miles southwest of San Antonio – is the latest deadly vehicle crash involving migrants, marking the highest death toll since 13 people died in a collision in remote Holtville, California, in March 2021.

Vehicles mangled in the crash. PHOTO: AP