A vehicle that officials say was carrying undocumented immigrants crashed on Sunday in Texas after a chase with Border Patrol agents, throwing 12 people from the vehicle and killing four, according to Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd.
The Chevrolet Suburban, carrying 14 people, was traveling more than 100 mph when it crashed off Highway 85 in Big Wells, Texas.
The SUV was attempting to flee an ensuing Border Patrol vehicle when it "ran "off the road, caught gravel, then tried to recorrect and that caused the vehicle to turn over several times," Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd said.
Authorities believe the driver, who was unharmed and taken into custody, and the passenger are US citizens.
Four people died at the scene. Some passengers were taken to a nearby local hospital, while several others were flown to a hospital in San Antonio, where a fifth person was pronounced dead, the sheriff said, adding that there "possibly might be a sixth one."
Lt. Edwin Roberts, a spokesman for San Antonio Military Medical Center, said six patients had arrived at the hospital, but he would not confirm if any of them had died.
A motorist who witnessed the crash posted a video to Facebook following the accident.
On Tuesday, five people involved in the crash were charged for their roles in an alleged "smuggling scheme."
Among those charged were Jorge Luis Monsivais Jr., of Eagle Pass, Texas, the driver of the SUV who led authorities on the chase.
According to the US Attorney's office, the chase began when US Border Patrol agents conducted an inspection of three vehicles that were traveling in a convoy along FM 2644 between El Indio and Carrizo Springs, Texas.
One of the vehicles, a Chevrolet Tahoe, stopped, while the two others sped away from authorities at around 12 p.m. local time.
Monsivais was traveling with 13 suspected undocumented immigrants, including one child.
Warning: graphic images in video.
"Damn...fucking police chase...fucking flipped over a Suburban... Just right now. Just happened... Holy fucking shit, dude. That's fucking insane," Isaiah Martinez can be heard saying as he walks toward the wreckage in the video. "Looks like they're taking him to prison. Oh yeah, they're putting him in the car."
"Holy shit. Holy god...that was fucked up," he continues in the footage as he walks. When he reaches other observers, dogs can be heard barking, and he asks, "Are you guys alright?"
"Did you all see it?" he asks. "You all okay? What's happening over there right now?"
"They're doing CPR," a bystander answers.
"Holy fucking shit. I saw everything, man," Martinez says.
He continues to walk toward the vehicle, checking to make sure everyone he encounters is alright.
"This is fucked up...a fucked-up day," he says.
"Are you OK?" he asks a woman offscreen when he's in view of the victims.
"I'm OK," she says. "They need help, but I don't know if we're allowed...They need a lot of help."
A Border Patrol pickup truck can then be seen pulling up close to the accident, where a body is on the ground. Martinez walks a distance away and then closer to the accident, showing the extent of the carnage before the video ends.
The second vehicle that fled from immigration authorities, authorities said, came to a stop after a short pursuit. The driver of that vehicle, 55-year-old Marcial Gomez Santana, and 45-year-old Mariela Reyna—both Mexican nationals–are also facing federal smuggling charges.
Rudy Gomez, 21, of Hockley, Texas, and Johana Gomez, of Houston, were also named in the federal complaint.
According to the statement from the US Attorney's office, 23 undocumented immigrants were involved in the "scheme" involving the three vehicles, including 21 Mexican citizens and two Honduran citizens.
Boyd told CNN that deadly crash underscored the need for bolstered borders and a wall between the US and Mexico, saying that his county and others have "seen this many, many times.
"It's a problem...This is, I think, a perfect example of why our borders need to be secure," the sheriff explained to the outlet. "I think we need a wall, in my opinion."
The wall should also have cameras and sensors, he said, according to CNN.
When asked why Border Patrol agents started chasing the SUV, Boyd replied, "It's called good police work."