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Pics: 8 killed in crash with suspected human smuggler

An ambulance. (Monkey Business Images/Dreamstime/TNS)
November 10, 2023

Eight people were killed Wednesday in a two-vehicle crash that occurred on a Texas highway when a suspected human smuggler with a car full of people from Honduras smashed head-on into an SUV as the car was attempting to flee from the police.

In a post on X, Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety (DPS), explained that the crash caused by the suspected human smuggler occurred on U.S. Highway 57 near Batesville, Texas, located roughly 83 miles from San Antonio. Olivarez shared pictures from the wreckage of the two vehicles involved in Wednesday’s crash.

In his post, Olivarez said DPS was investigating the crash. He noted that the driver of a Honda passenger car from Houston was suspected of human smuggling and was attempting to evade officers from the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office.

“The driver passed an 18-wheeler in a no-passing zone,” Olivarez said. “The driver drove head-on with a Chevy SUV, causing the vehicle to burst into flames, killing the driver & passenger from Georgia. As a result, five passengers, including the suspected smuggler of the Honda, were killed.”

Olivarez later told CNN that six dead passengers had been found in the Honda vehicle, with the crash resulting in the death of eight total victims.

Olivarez also said that law enforcement was able to confirm that multiple individuals killed in Wednesday’s crash were from Honduras and that the identities of the individuals would be released at a later time.

In a second post on X, Olivarez confirmed the identifies of the individuals in the Chevy SUV, stating, “Jose Lerma, 67, and Isabel Lerma, 65, of Dalton, Georgia, Whitfield County, occupants of the Chevy SUV, have been positively identified and family notified.”

READ MORE: Migrant smugglers using TikTok, YouTube to sell illegal transportation into U.S.: Report

Republican lawmakers quickly responded to Wednesday’s incident with the suspected human smuggler, blaming President Joe Biden’s border policies for the tragedy.

“President Biden’s open borders policies have invited 7M illegal aliens into our country — with deadly consequences,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated in a post on X.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) also released a statement regarding the incident. “Innocent Americans are dead after a vehicle full of illegal immigrants crashed head on while trying to get away from police,” she said. “Another tragic consequence of Biden’s open border.”