Border Patrol vehicle carrying immigrants involved in crash

VAN HORN – On Thursday, June 10, a Border Patrol agent and 10 undocumented detainees suffered a vehicle accident in Culberson County. A commercial tractor trailer driven by 44-year-old Javier Ramon Rodriguez-Miranda merged into the agent’s lane because of a  mechanical distraction, pushing the federal vehicle off the road and causing it to roll over. 

The incident took place at 7:17 a.m. along Interstate 10 near mile marker 145, approximately two miles east of Van Horn. All 11 occupants of the Border Patrol vehicle were injured according to a press statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety-Highway Patrol, which only provided the medical status of both drivers.

The initial report stated that both drivers were wearing seatbelts, but marked the 10 detained passengers’ seatbelt status as “unknown.” CBP policy states that employees and detainees in CBP vehicles must wear seatbelts when in motion — assuming they are available.

Rather than report seatbelt status, whereabouts and medical status of the 10 detained passengers — all adult males — individually, the report instead stated that they’d all been “transported to local area hospitals with possible injuries.” The same report provided clear information on both drivers –– the agent was transferred to Culberson County Hospital after suffering “non-incapacitating injuries.” Rodriguez-Miranda was not injured.

However, the incident appears to have been life-threatening for at least two of the detainees, who were flown out by helicopter, according to a later press release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which stated that all available medical assistance had been requested at the scene.

Greg Davis, public affairs officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the Big Bend Sector, said that the CBP “doesn’t have any information” on the passengers’ seatbelt status, their medical situations or where they were taken.

“I suspect it’s going to take a good while [to gather more information on the victims’ medical status] because these investigations last a good while,” he told The Big Bend Sentinel last week. The Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the incident.