Editor’s note: Police originally said six had died in the crash and later updated that number to seven.
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to stop a car moments before it crashed and killed seven people Thursday morning in Downtown El Paso.
The car slammed into a business about 2:15 a.m. near the intersection of Paisano Drive and San Antonio Street. El Paso police confirmed seven people died, and three others suffered life-threatening injuries. Officers with the Special Traffic Investigations unit are working to identify the victims and notify next-of-kin.
It remains unclear why Border Patrol agents attempted to stop the vehicle, and there is no indication that the driver led agents on a chase.
Border agents “attempted to stop the vehicle, and the vehicle didn’t want to stop. That’s basically it,” Border Patrol spokesman Agent Mario Escalante said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement Thursday morning, saying the vehicle fled when agents assigned to the Santa Teresa and El Paso stations attempted to stop it.
“At this time, the U.S. Border Patrol is cooperating with the active investigation, which is being led by the El Paso Police Department. The incident is also under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility,” the statement said.
Border agents immediately notified the El Paso Police Department.
The vehicle crashing into a semi-trailer container parked behind a tire shop.
Employees of a boot shop next to the tire business say multiple crashes have happened near their office and it worries them.
“Had they swerved maybe a few yards before they would have hit our building so the scenario could have been a lot different this morning I mean it just makes me a little bit more cautious,” said Bianca Cote an employee of Rocketbuster custom boots.
A spokesperson for the El Paso Police Department saying most of the crashes in the area are caused by speed.
“That curve is very sharp right after a downhill from an overpass and a lot of people who do miss that or don’t navigate that curve correctly it’s usually due to speed coming off the over pass,” said Sgt. Robert Gomez a Spokesperson for the El Paso Police Department.
In late January, a woman from Ecuador was killed in the same location on Paisano Drive after her smuggler crashed during a pursuit with Border Patrol. Police charged him with intoxication manslaughter.
Pasiano was reopened around 12 p.m. on Thursday.
This is a developing story. Look for update as more information becomes available.