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Border Patrol crash that injured 5 east of Sasabe under investigation

Customs and Border Protection is investigating a crash involving two Border Patrol vehicles along a remote stretch of border this month.

A CBP spokesperson says a Border Patrol agent and four migrants were injured east of the Sasabe Port of Entry on Friday when two Border Patrol vehicles collided and one ran into the steel border wall that runs parallel to the road.

Gail Kocourek is a volunteer with Tucson Samaritans, one of several aid groups currently providing temporary shelter, water and food to asylum seekers and migrants in Sasabe. She says she arrived about an hour after the accident.

"There were a bunch of Border Patrol trucks on the wall side of the road, there were probably about four or five trucks, one of them was obviously in an accident," she said.

A photo provided by Kocourek shows a Border Patrol pickup truck with its front end smashed into the border wall. Another large dent is visible on the driver's side of the truck and an front door is open shows what looks like a white airbag deployed in the windshield.

Hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers have gathered along the rugged dirt road near Sasabe in recent months, many of whom are families and individuals who are actively looking for the Border Patrol to ask for protection in the U.S. Kocourek says the agency’s vans and trucks make a handful of trips there everyday to pick up and process people who are waiting. Her group and others also make daily trips there to provide food and water to those who are waiting.

The CBP spokesperson says the crash is being investigated by the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility and that five people taken to the hospital were treated for their injuries and released. He said the asylum seekers and migrants involved were processed "according to their immigration status," but declined to answer further questions about the circumstances of the crash, citing the ongoing investigation.

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