Cal Fire San Diego firefighters work at the scene of a crash that killed three people and injured eight, three seriously, on Thursday afternoon on westbound Interstate 8 near Boulevard. (Courtesy of Cal Fire San Diego)
Three people were killed and eight were injured when a pickup fleeing from Border Patrol agents hit a spike strip, veered onto an embankment and rolled Thursday afternoon on westbound Interstate 8 near Boulevard, authorities said.
Border Patrol agents gave chase to the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, which had two people in the cab and nine in the bed, about 4:25 p.m., CHP spokesman Officer Travis Garrow said. The truck crashed while fleeing at an “extremely high rate of speed” on the two-lane interstate east of Crestwood Road near the Golden Acorn Casino.
“It was spike-stripped by the Border Patrol, continued westbound, went up a dirt and rock embankment and rolled, ejecting either nine or 10 people out of the vehicle,” Garrow said.
A male driver and a female passenger were believed to be the only occupants seated in the cab of the truck, Garrow said. Nine men were in the bed, which had no camper shell or other type of covering.
According to a CHP incident log, witnesses reported the pickup was weaving in and out of traffic and passing other motorists using the center median and right shoulder at speeds of more than 100 mph.
Three people were killed, including the only woman, and the rest sustained moderate to major injuries, Garrow said.
Cal Fire San Diego said three of the victims sustained major injuries and five others suffered minor injuries.
Garrow said the truck’s driver was in Border Patrol custody Thursday night. Border Patrol officials said they were preparing a statement about the incident.
The ages and immigration statuses of the victims were not immediately known.
Both westbound lanes of I-8 were shut down approaching the Crestwood Road exit, and the interstate remained closed as of 7:30 p.m.
Motorists were being diverted off westbound I-8 and onto Old Highway 80 at Ribbonwood Road, several miles east of the crash. Vehicles were being allowed back onto westbound I-8 at Crestwood Road.
Border Patrol policy states that agents may get involved in pursuits only when the benefit outweighs any immediate danger created by speeding or other emergency driving techniques.
Federal officials have said pursuits involving agents are rare, but Thursday’s crash was the second in the past 16 months that resulted in three deaths.
The other triple-fatality chase happened in August 2017 after Border Patrol agents spotted a Black GMC Envoy that, according to an alert, was associated with an armed and dangerous man suspected of murder and human smuggling.
When the agents tried to pull the vehicle over, the driver sped off. The vehicle was traveling at high speeds when it went off Interstate 15 and into a Rancho Bernardo ravine, killing three of the four people inside.
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