Investigators: Stolen trucks full of suspected illegal immigrants lead officers on chase

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by Malini Basu / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 24 at 5:43 PM

MATAGORDA COUNTY, Texas – Officers chased two stolen pickup trucks full of suspected illegal immigrants through two counties Tuesday morning, until both vehicles crashed, investigators said.

Matagorda County deputies were notified by Jackson County deputies around 8:02 a.m. that a stolen Dodge pickup was headed their way on FM 616.

At 8:13 a.m., a Matagorda deputy spotted the truck on 12th Street in Bay City.

Investigators said the officer turned on his lights and siren, but the truck refused to stop. The deputy gave chase and quickly realized that there was a Ford F150 traveling with the Dodge truck.

Eventually, investigators said DPS troopers and Bay City police officers joined the pursuit of the trucks, which continued north on Highway 60.

The Ford truck crashed just after passing Chalmers Road on Highway 60. Investigators said there were 16 people in the truck.

"I go down the road, and there was emergency vehicles parked all over the road. There was a white Ford truck, and there was a gob of people rolling around, laying there in the grass," witness Thomas Orsak said.

Four of them were taken to the hospital. Ten others were arrested at the scene. The remaining two occupants of the truck fled.

"They were hurt bad. They were rubbing their legs and rolling around in the grass. I don’t know how many were there," Orsak said, adding that the images were something he’ll never forget.

"I feel sad for the people. They’re paying coyotes to bring them to Texas, and they’re getting injured," he said.

Meanwhile, officers kept chasing the Dodge truck into Wharton County.

Just after it passed CR 114, investigators said the Dodge crashed. There were 12 people in that vehicle, all of whom fled the scene.

Both vehicles were reported stolen out of Harris County. Investigators believe all of the people who were in the trucks are in the country illegally.

As of Tuesday evening, 11 of the people involved in the crashes were in ICE custody, and four remained hospitalized. Investigators said there were still about a dozen people at large.

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