Contributed Photo/Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Contributed Article/Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection
TUCSON – On Aug. 7, at approximately 7:09 p.m., a Jeep Liberty fled eastbound on State Road 86 (SR 86) after circumventing the primary inspection area of the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint located near Three Points, Arizona. Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) assigned to the Tucson Border Patrol Station traveled eastbound on SR 86 attempting to locate the vehicle. A CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) helicopter crew responded to the area and located the vehicle traveling eastbound on SR 86. The AMO helicopter crew provided aerial surveillance of the vehicle providing updates as to its location to BPAs on the ground. The AMO pilot observed the Jeep Liberty drive erratically through several red lights as it continued into Tucson, Arizona. The vehicle then entered onto northbound I-19, which is approximately 24 miles east of the SR 86 checkpoint.
The AMO pilot continued to monitor the vehicle as it merged onto westbound I-10. A National Guard helicopter relieved the AMO helicopter crew near Marana, Arizona, and continued the aerial surveillance of the vehicle.
With the assistance of air support, BPAs located the vehicle on I-10. At approximately 7:57 p.m., a BPA attempted to stop the Jeep Liberty by deploying a Vehicle Immobilization Device (VID) on I-10, approximately 39 miles northwest of Tucson near Picacho Peak. The driver of the Jeep Liberty lost control, crossed the median, and struck a tractor-trailer in the eastbound lanes of travel. As a result of the impact, the vehicle traveled back into the median and caught fire. BPAs immediately requested emergency medical services (EMS), pulled several occupants from the vehicle, and rendered aid. There was a total of 11 occupants in the vehicle, including two unidentified individuals who were declared deceased on the scene.
Life Flight EMS responded to the scene and transported two individuals to the Banner University Medical Center Main Campus (BUMC-Main), including an unidentified male individual, who was later pronounced deceased by medical personnel. Six individuals were transported via ground ambulance to BUMC-Main. One individual was transported to the Tucson Coordination Center (TCC) but subsequently transported to BUMC-South Campus for evaluation.
This incident is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and reviewed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was notified of the incident.