DEL RIO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A Texas man has been indicted on federal charges after the pickup he was driving was involved in a deadly head-on crash that killed eight undocumented migrants he was transporting.
A federal grand jury in Del Rio, a Texas border city near where the March 15 crash occurred, indicted Sebastian Tovar, 24, of Austin, on a charge of transporting migrants illegally resulting in death. He also faces single counts of transporting migrants illegally and conspiracy to transport migrants illegally, both resulting in serious injury. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in federal prison.READ MORE: Working From Home Is Exposing Us To Another Type Of Virus: Cybercrime
Raymond Meza Jr. of Del Rio, Tovar’s attorney, declined comment on the indictment.READ MORE: Immigration Conversation Between Former President George W. Bush, Dirk Nowitzki And Mark Cuban Airs At Dallas Mavericks Game
The collision happened weeks after one of the deadliest highway crashes involving migrants entering the U.S. without permission and amid rising crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to court documents, Tovar was driving a pickup truck on Farm-to-Market Road 2523 near Del Rio when a state trooper tried to stop him. When Tovar failed to stop, a 50-mile chase ensued at speeds exceeding 100 mph. Traveling north on U.S. 277, the truck veered into an oncoming lane and collided with another pickup truck head-on.MORE NEWS: Driver Charged With Intoxication Manslaughter Following Crash In Arlington That Killed Passenger
Border Patrol agents arriving on the scene spotted another pickup truck stopped in traffic. While agents were directing traffic around the crash site, multiple people jumped from the stopped truck and fled on foot. Agents rounded up 12 migrants, four of whom said they were part of a failed human smuggling attempt divided between the stopped truck and the one crashed, according to court documents.(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)