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Six Dead, 8 Injured After Smugglers’ SUV Crashes in Texas Police Chase

Six people were killed and eight others injured after an SUV flipped during a police chase on a Texas highway Thursday with members of a human smuggling ring.

Police in Edna first attempted to stop a Ford Explorer at around 1:29 a.m. local time Thursday morning for a traffic violation, according to a statement from the Edna Police Department.

But the driver of the SUV sped away and led police on a chase on Highway 59 in the city limits of Edna, the statement said.

Image: Police are investigating after an SUV carrying 15 passengers flipped on a highway in Edna
Police are investigating after an SUV carrying 15 passengers flipped on a highway in Edna during a police chase, killing 6 and injuring 7. KPRC-TV

During the chase, the vehicle rolled over multiple times, throwing several of its 16 occupants from the SUV, police said.

Four of the passengers that were thrown from the SUV were pronounced dead at the scene, police said, and another two later died at local hospitals. One passenger remains in the hospital.

Leticia Zamarripa, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the driver, a U.S. citizen, and two others in the vehicle are believed to be members of the smuggling ring.

Officials say the vehicle was packed with the three smuggling ring members and 13 people who were in the country illegally.

The rear seat in the Ford Explorer had been folded down and the middle seat removed to apparently create more room in the vehicle, police said.

Officers have identified some of the victims as being from Honduras and Guatemala, according to the police statement.

Eight people were treated for injuries and released to federal immigration officials, Edna Police Chief Clinton Wooldridge told NBC News.