3 killed in head-on collision on I-10 near Picacho Peak; human smuggling suspected

Apr 21, 2022, 10:42 AM | Updated: 6:56 pm
(Arizona Department of Transportation Traffic Camera)...
(Arizona Department of Transportation Traffic Camera)
(Arizona Department of Transportation Traffic Camera)

PHOENIX – Three people were killed in a head-on collision during a police chase Thursday on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson in an incident related to human smuggling, authorities said.

An SUV being pursued by a state trooper on westbound I-10 near Picacho Peak crossed the dirt median and crashed into an eastbound tractor-trailer around 9 a.m., the Arizona Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

Eastbound I-10 (toward Tucson) was closed at milepost 211 near Eloy afterward. The westbound lanes remained open for several hours but were closed at milepost 219 around 1:45 p.m., according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Vehicles were being re-routed on the frontage road and could reeenter the freeway at the end of the closure area.

The westbound lanes repoened at about 3:45 p.m., with the eastbound lanes following just before 7 p.m.

The SUV, which had eight occupants, failed to yield when the trooper attempted to stop it for an unknown violation, leading to the chase, DPS said.

Two people died at the scene and another was pronounced dead at the hospital, DPS said. An unspecified number of people were hospitalized. Several people were ejected on impact, DPS said.

Homeland Security Investigations said DPS requested assistance in the case.

“HSI will be investigating the attempted human smuggling activity. … This is an ongoing investigation, information will be limited,” the federal agency, which is part of Immigration Control and Enforcement, said in a statement.

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3 killed in head-on collision on I-10 near Picacho Peak; human smuggling suspected