Musings of a Real Texas Cowgirl

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Albanian illegals in South Texas

Sorry, we don't yet have an Albanian illegal alien sprite, so Ali Oburrito will have to suffice.

Chase ends in deadly rollover [Albanian illegals in South Texas]
San Antonio Rio Grande Valley Bureau ^ | 11/16/2006 | Jesse Bogan
McALLEN — A white Suburban being chased by Brooks County deputies on U.S. 281 rolled over near Falfurrias early Thursday, killing one undocumented immigrant and injuring 11 others.
The 10-mile chase started when Falfurrias police tried to pull the Suburban over for going 55 in a 45-mph zone, but the driver sped off. Police backed off and let the deputies take over when they reached the city limits. Deputies told Alice-based Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Robert Vasquez they stayed about 100 yards behind the vehicle.
"Right now there are a lot of unknowns," Vasquez said of the 12:51 a.m. crash that injured 11 people, including four Hondurans, three Salvadorans, and four Albanians.
The 21-year-old man who died was also from the Balkan country of Albania, but his name was not immediately released. The driver of the 2001 Suburban, which was purchased Nov. 5 from a used car lot in Houston, escaped on foot, Vasquez said.
"It seems that it's a common occurrence, that whether they are injured or not, their legs aren't because they always flee the scene," Vasquez said of the unknown smuggler, who may have been talking on his cell phone as the chase reached about 90 miles per hour before he lost control.
All of the injured were taken to area hospitals. The worst off were listed in stable condition, Vasquez said. It is likely the others will be deported.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Luisa Deason in Houston confirmed the fatality, but would only say they are investigating the incident with DPS and the Brooks County Sheriff's Office.
Brooks County Sheriff Baldi Lozano did not return calls seeking comment, nor did Falfurrias Police Chief Eden Garcia.
Asked if the pursuing officers followed proper procedures chasing the vehicle, Vasquez said it's a different policy for each agency and the incident will be reviewed by his supervisors, which is routine.
The last fatality in the area happened in July, when two undocumented immigrants died in a rollover. Six died in January when an 18-wheeler T-boned a pickup loaded with immigrants a few miles before the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint just south of Falfurrias.
Immigrants commonly either try to sneak through the checkpoint in vehicles and in tractor-trailer rigs, or hike through the area brush around it, which was the case for the group that crashed early Thursday. Vasquez said they were picked up in Falfurrias.
"It just seems that they really like to go around this checkpoint. It's just one of those things," Vasquez said. "If you happen to find a violation on one of these people driving these vehicles they are not going to want to stop at any cost."
Asked if she thought the area was a likely spot for accidents, Deason, of ICE, said it can happen anywhere.
"It happens in a lot of different cities, here in Houston, in Arizona," she said. "Anytime you have illegal aliens jump into a vehicle with a smuggler they are going to be in grave danger."


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