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Driver ID'd in Deadly Border Patrol Pursuit Crash


Three people were killed and eight others were injured when a white pickup truck with passengers riding in the bed crashed while fleeing from San Diego border patrol agents on Thursday.

Agents were chasing the white Chevy Silverado truck on Interstate 8 near Crestwood Road in Boulevard, 40 miles east of San Diego, at around 4:30 p.m. when the truck crashed up a steep embankment and overturned, killing three occupants.

There were 11 people in the truck, one woman and 10 men. The crash injured all eight of the truck’s other occupants, including the driver, identified as 21-year-old Luis Alberto Virgen, a U.S. citizen who has been living in Mexico, according to California Highway Patrol. 

Virgen was taken to the hospital before being arrested on at least three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter. He was being held in San Diego County Jail on $50,000 bail. 

U.S. Border Patrol says agents patrolling an unknown stretch of the U.S.-Mexico Border in East San Diego County noticed tire tracks headed north away from the divide. A piece of a vehicle was also found.

The agency believed these were signs of a human smuggling attempt and alerted other agents, one of which who spotted a truck that had a piece missing matching the description of the piece agents found.

Agents attempted to pull the truck over but the truck refused to stop and continued eastbound on I-8 before turning around to the opposite direction, leading BP agents on a chase that at times reached speeds above 100 mph.

BP agents deployed a spike strip that caused the driver to lose control and roll up an embankment, at which point the truck became airborne and multiple passengers were ejected.

Three people suffered major injuries and five others had minor injuries. CHP officials believe only two people were in the cabin of the truck at the time of the crash and the rest were lying down in the uncovered truck bed.

Cal Fire said that due to weather — fog, wind and rain — none of the patients could be airlifted to area hospitals.

Everyone except Virgen was unrestrained, CHP officials said.

Officials did not identify the three people killed in the crash but said one was a woman and two were men. 

About an hour after the crash, border patrol agents discovered another vehicle in the same area believed to have crossed as part of the same smuggling operation. One man was arrested. No other details were provided.

A Sig Alert was issued for westbound I-8 and traffic was blocked at the site of the crash for several hours as CHP investigated the crash. 

Photo Credit: NBC7
Source: NBC San Diego

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