EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — New Mexico State Police have identified a Mexican man driving an SUV that rolled over, killing two migrants and injuring nine others on Wednesday in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
Julio Garcia Rascon, 19, of Juarez, Mexico, is charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle; 10 counts of causing great bodily injury by vehicle; and reckless driving. He, too, was injured in the crash.
NMSP also identified the two people who died as 24-year-old Jorge Garcia-Vazquez and 18-year-old Guadalupe Cruze-Vazquez, both of Mexico. State police said they were ejected from the 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe and died at the scene.
The crash happened shortly after 5 a.m. July 27 on Airport Road and McNutt Road in Santa Teresa. Investigators said the SUV approached a curve in the road before driving off the road, striking a utility pole and rolling.
Investigators said U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had attempted to stop the SUV on State Road 9, but the agents backed off when the driver sped away.
Rascon and nine other passengers were all transported by air and ambulance to an El Paso hospital. One of the passengers reportedly was uninjured.
Federal officials on Friday confirmed to Border Report that the crash involved human smuggling.
“HSI El Paso is investigating the smuggling event. It’s an ongoing investigation, and no further details are available at this time,” the agency said in an email to Border Report.
It is unknown if Garcia Rascon will face federal smuggling charges.
The Mexican consulate in El Paso also said that the nine injured passengers were Mexican citizens.
On Friday, the U.S. Border Patrol said agents arrived at the scene of a rollover crash and immediately requested assistance from Emergency Medical Services and assisted to Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department and New Mexico State Police.
Border Report has reached out to the Border Patrol for information regarding the traffic stop and is awaiting a response.