|Authorities said 10 undocumented immigrants in a sport utility vehicle crammed with at least 22 people were killed when the driver lost control and it rolled over on a remote highway near Tucson. (Ariz. Department of Public Safety)|
10 killed in SUV rollover near Tucson
SONOITA, Ariz. - Ten undocumented immigrants "stacked like wood" in the back of a sports utility vehicle crammed with at least 22 people were killed when the driver lost control and rolled over on a remote southern Arizona highway, authorities said yesterday.
The Ford Excursion had no rear seat and most of the men and women were ejected when the SUV crashed just before midnight Saturday about 40 miles southeast of Tucson. Authorities said all the victims are believed to be undocumented immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, and perhaps Mexico.
An Arizona Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, Joy Craig, told the Associated Press that the remote area where the crash happened is a route commonly used by those smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States.
"We see the people stacked like wood frequently," she said. "If they had had the right number of people in there and they all had their seat belts on, they would have lived."
A dozen people injured in the crash were treated at area hospitals and authorities were looking for possibly more.
The identity of the driver, passengers, and the vehicle's owner are being withheld pending their identification and notification of relatives. Many victims did not have identification, Craig said.
Investigators have not identified the driver, but if he survives, Craig said he would likely be charged.
"Basically, this is like a 10-time homicide scene," she said.