Robstown police chase ends with 6 migrants dead and several injured
Courtney M Sacco, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The alleged driver in a crash that left six people dead this week is facing federal charges.
Ivan Dario Puga-Moreno of Montemorelos, Mexico, is accused of driving a vehicle that was found in ditch near Robstown on Wednesday.
Six people were found dead at the scene and nine were taken to the hospital with injuries described as significant, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
The SUV was found in a ditch in a sorghum field.
An investigation revealed Puga-Moreno was the vehicle’s driver, a news release from the office states. A court document states he was trying to smuggle more than a dozen undocumented immigrants.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived at the site of the crash about 6:55 a.m. and found about six people in the vehicle. They appeared to be incoherent. Another seven people were found “in or near the vehicle and required medical assistance,” an arrest affidavit reads.
Nueces County Sheriff J.C. Hooper said the men were from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Homeland Security agents later spoke with one of the men involved in the crash at a hospital. The man told them he and 13 others “had been smuggled by a guide through the brush for approximately three days,” the document reads.
The man said they were later picked up by a man driving a Suburban, the document states.
Authorities later got in contact with a woman who said she had been in contact with Puga-Moreno. In a phone call, Puga-Moreno told the woman he was driving, wrecked the SUV and hit something, the document states.
He said “he had been hiding and had observed the ambulance and law enforcement at the accident scene,” the document reads.
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A woman who identified herself as Puga-Moreno’s girlfriend was contacted by authorities. She told law enforcement Puga-Moreno was an undocumented immigrant.
She told authorities Puga-Moreno told her “he was scared and ran from the scene” with four other people, the document states.
Puga-Moreno told her he had “broken bones and internal bleeding,” and needed help, the document reads.
It is unknown where authorities found Puga-Moreno. He is charged with unlawfully transporting the migrants.
He’s set to appear before a federal magistrate in Houston on Monday.
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