On April 15, 2022, at approximately 4:11 a.m., a Border Patrol agent assigned to the primary inspection booth at the Las Cruces, N.M. Border Patrol checkpoint observed a vehicle approach the checkpoint, located at mile marker 120.5 on Interstate 10 west near Las Cruces, N.M. The agent observed the suspect vehicle pull off the road and park near the license plate readers, approximately five hundred feet from the checkpoint’s primary inspection booth. The agent notified two other agents inside the inspection building of the suspect vehicle via the checkpoint’s intercom system.
The driver of the suspect vehicle remained parked for approximately two minutes. The primary agent then observed the suspect vehicle turning around and he immediately advised the two other agents. The agents left the inspection building and entered a marked Border Patrol vehicle. They saw the suspect vehicle heading east onto the ramp toward I-10. As the agents approached I-10 in the Border Patrol vehicle, they observed the taillights of the suspect vehicle driving in the westbound lanes against traffic.
Shortly after the agents observed the suspect vehicle driving against traffic, they activated their emergency equipment and entered the median between the east and westbound lanes to catch up to the suspect vehicle. The agents were not able to get to the suspect vehicle due to the rough conditions of the median. The agents then activated their emergency siren to get the driver’s attention. A short time later, the suspect vehicle struck another vehicle. The collision sent the subject vehicle into the median between the east and west bound lanes, where it came to a stop. The other vehicle crossed the westbound lanes, stopped on the north shoulder, and caught fire.
The agents arrived at the location of the accident and parked their Border Patrol vehicle across the west bound lanes of I-10 to control the flow of traffic. One agent ran to the other vehicle and observed the driver to be seriously injured and lifeless underneath the deployed airbags. However, with the vehicle catching fire, he was unable to render aid or remove the driver from the vehicle. Another agent approached the suspect vehicle, and upon his arrival saw the driver was partially ejected from the vehicle and unresponsive. The agent broke the rear window and determined there were no other passengers in the vehicle. The agents requested New Mexico State Police, Dona Ana County Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services to respond to the scene.
Dona Ana County Fire Department arrived at the scene and extinguished the vehicle fire. New Mexico State Police arrived at the scene and closed the I-10 westbound lanes to initiate their investigation. New Mexico State Police investigators determined the lack of skid marks from the vehicles indicated that neither vehicle braked prior to impact. The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator arrived on the scene and declared both drivers deceased.
New Mexico State Police is investigating the incident. The incident is being reviewed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility and the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was notified.
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