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Border Patrol pursuit ends in a fatal crash across the Arizona border in New Mexico

A recent Border Patrol chase ended in a fatal car crash on a two-lane ramp of Interstate 10, across the Arizona border in New Mexico.

In a statement, Customs and Border Protection said on March 23 that Border Patrol agents were involved in a pursuit that ended in a crash with a death and multiple injuries near Rodeo, New Mexico. A spokesperson declined to give further details, citing an ongoing investigation into the crash by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the New Mexico State Police.

State police say their investigation is ongoing, but initial findings show that Border Patrol used "tire deflation devices" to stop the vehicle agents were pursuing on Highway 80. It crashed a few miles away while trying to enter the interstate and hit a New Mexico Department of Transportation vehicle exiting the instate head on.

The driver of the suspect vehicle died at the scene. Four passengers in his vehicle were hospitalized with injuries, along with the driver and passengers from the Department of Transportation vehicle, according to state police.

Last year, CBP announced it was disbanding the Border Patrol's Critical Incident Teams — a group of internal units dispatched to use-of-force and other serious incidents to gather and investigate — amid criticism from members of Congress and right advocates, who argued the agency did not have the legal authority to investigate themselves. The agency said those duties would be would fully be transferred over to the Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR. 

The New Mexico crash is one of at least four fatal Border Patrol pursuits this year, according to a count of statements released by OPR. 

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.