Man dies in collision while fleeing Border Patrol, local authorities in Benson

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A man died in a traffic collision July 28 in Benson while fleeing Border Patrol and local authorities, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The driver and two undocumented migrants also sustained injuries in the crash that occurred near the intersection of State Route 90 and South Village Loop, authorities said.

The pursuit began shortly after 1 p.m. when a Cochise County sheriff’s deputy attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle, which had a temporary license plate, on Davis Road near mile marker 18 between Tombstone and McNeal, according to CBP.

After the vehicle didn’t stop, the sheriff’s deputy discontinued the pursuit because of the driver’s erratic driving and issued a bulletin for the vehicle to countywide law enforcement agencies.

About 3:40 p.m., two Border Patrol agents in separate vehicles saw the vehicle traveling north on SR 90. The agents began to follow, with one agent passing the vehicle in order to prepare a vehicle immobilization device in case the vehicle failed to stop.

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A short time later, as the second agent continued to follow the vehicle, a third Border Patrol agent in an unmarked vehicle began to follow the two vehicles. After the agents attempted to stop the vehicle by activating their emergency lights, the vehicle didn’t stop and began to flee near mile marker 294 on SR 90.

The first agent, who initially drove ahead in order to wait for the suspect vehicle, then deployed a vehicle immobilization device that successfully contacted the suspect vehicle, CBP said. Despite contacting the immobilization device, the driver continued driving north on SR 90.

The primary agent pursuing the vehicle then had to drop out of the chase after a tire was damaged from inadvertently contacting the immobilization device. The third agent took over the pursuit with his emergency lights and siren activated before a supervisory Border Patrol agent terminated the pursuit at 3:47 p.m. because it was approaching the city of Benson, according to CBP.

The pursuing agent deactivated his emergency equipment before seeing an unmarked Benson Police Department vehicle ahead of him activate its emergency lights in an effort to stop the suspect vehicle. As the Border Patrol agent reactivated his emergency lights, the vehicle collided with a GMC Yukon SUV near SR 90 and South Village Loop

The Border Patrol and Benson Police Department vehicles stopped, and officers provided assistance and requested emergency medical services. A short time later, the Benson Fire Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety arrived.

A male passenger in the suspect vehicle was declared dead at the scene. The driver was taken via air ambulance to the Banner University Medical Center in Tucson. Two undocumented migrants were taken to the Benson Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and then released to the Willcox Border Patrol Station.

This incident was being investigated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It was under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, and the DHS Office of Inspector General was notified, according to CBP.

Contact the reporter at jcastaneda1@arizonarepublic.com or connect with him on Twitter @joseicastaneda.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 1 dead, 3 injured in Arizona crash after Border Patrol chase