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Border & Immigration

Charges Filed In Fatal South Texas Border Crash

Cindy Cornett Seigle via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged five people for a fatal SUV crash Sunday in South Texas that killed five migrants who entered the country illegally.

The crash occurred while the driver was fleeing from Border Patrol in Dimmit County, about 50 miles north of Mexico.The federal criminal complaint doesn’t distinguish between the driver and the other four people named in the complaint.

They’re all charged with smuggling resulting in “serious bodily injury and death.”

If convicted, they could be punished with a $250,000 fine, possible life in prison or the death penalty.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said the 20-year-old driver Jorge Luis Monsivais refused to stop for border patrol agents. According to a statement from the Western District of Texas, the driver crashed while speeding, killing or injuring all 13 occupants.

Authorities said his SUV was part of a three car caravan, carrying at least 21 people from Mexico and two people from Honduras.

Monsivais and two others named in the complaint are U.S. citizens: Johana Gomez, 19, and Rudy Gomez, 21. The remaining two charged are Mexican citizens.

At the time of the crash, a Dimmit County sheriff’s deputy had taken over pursuit from Border Patrol.

Camille Phillips can  be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille