Updated: Apr 18
On March 23, 2023, a vehicle suspected of smuggling migrants was spiked by Lordsburg, New Mexico Border Patrol agents according to the agency's press release and then lost control on Highway 80 and I-10 and hit a New Mexico Department of Transportation critically injuring the driver and passengers. The driver of the load vehicle was killed and his four passengers were seriously injured as well. Citizens in the small town of Rodeo, New Mexico are greatly concerned as pursuit after pursuit is chased through their small town at speeds often over 100 mph placing locals and their families at risk of becoming injured and killed.
The March 23rd pursuit began at approximately 9:26 a.m. according to the CBP's (Customs and Border Protection) press release dated April 8, 2023. This pursuit occurred on a small two-lane road that travels north from the border through the town of Rodeo. These are the facts according to press release:
9:26 a.m. - Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office Deputy Lyle Rogue witnesses the load vehicle, a GMC Sierra truck, northbound on Highway 80 at mile marker 1. The vehicle appeared to be speeding at about 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. The deputy engaged his emergency lights and siren to perform a vehicle stop at mile marker 2.
9:28 a.m. - The pursuit is seen at mile marker 2 by Border Patrol Agent George Rangel, and he falls in behind the Deputy Pogue to assist in the pursuit. The vehicle fails to yield, and the deputy terminates the pursuit after 1 mile by pulling to the side of the road and turning off his emergency equipment at mile marker 3. Border Patrol Rangel claimed to have no radio contact with the deputy, meaning Border Patrol Agent Rangel had no information as to why Deputy Pogue initiated and then terminated the pursuit.
Note: According to these statements, the load vehicle would be traveling at 60 mph (speed=distance/time) and not 80 mph from mile marker 1 when the pursuit was initiated by the deputy and mile marker 3 when the deputy terminated.
9:28 a.m. - As Border Patrol Agent Rangel takes over the same pursuit that the Hidalgo deputy terminated, he radioes a Supervisory Border Patrol Agent to monitor the pursuit as required by policy. The Agent Rangel notified the supervisor that although the Sierra was "traveling at a high rate of speed," there was "limited non-involved vehicle traffic" meaning there was not a danger to the public.
unknown time - At mile marker 4, as the Sierra continued to fail to yield, Border Patrol Agent Josiah Jaquez joined the pursuit and became the lead pursing vehicle with the Agent Rangel becoming the secondary vehicle.
9:38 a.m. - Border Patrol radioed that the Sierra veered into traffic on the small two-lane road. The supervisor monitoring over the radio ordered the pursing agents to "back-off from the Sierra to see if the fleeing driver would slow down." The pursing agents then claimed they were following the failure to yield that just endangered innocent drivers from "approximately one-half mile" away.
unknown time - At mile marker 27.5, an agent was positioned with a spike strip but did not deploy it because there was traffic in front of the Sierra on the two-lane road. Note that this statement indicates that the traffic flow has changed since the statement that there was "limited non-involved traffic" was made, yet agents did not terminate.
9:44 a.m. - At mile marker 30.5, a different Border Patrol agent apparently successfully spiked the Sierra truck load vehicle according to their press release.
Note: From mile marker 2 at approximately 9:28 a.m. to mile marker 30.5 at 9:44 a.m. when the Sierra was spiked is 28.4 miles in approximately 16 minutes. This would put the speed of the load vehicle being pursued at approximately 106.5 mph. This speed is not a safe speed to spike.
9:45 a.m. - CBP's press release stated that the Sierra load vehicle then entered the ramp to I-10 and collided head-on with the New Mexico Department of Transportation truck.
Note: The Sierra load vehicle then travels approximately 2 miles in 1 minute making the speed after having its tires successfully spike in that 1 minute approximately 120mph.
Patrol Agent in Charge (PAIC) William Crounse statements:
The same day that this pursuit occurred, PAIC Crounse of the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station was scheduled to meet with local ranchers at 1 p.m. in Rodeo, New Mexico where the deadly crash occurred. It was his agents who were pursing and then spiked the truck. The wreck was such a public relations nightmare, he actually responded to the scene earlier. A member in the audience recorded the meeting in which PAIC Crounse divulged the following information that is relevant to this case: (Please be aware that this recording contains operational information that I will not release since it could endanger agents. This recording is available to media or attorneys upon request.)