One dead, many injured, some missing after accident
LA JOYA, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — A quiet neighborhood just blocks from La Joya high school is shaken up.
An SUV carrying 20 suspected undocumented immigrants lost control Friday morning and flipped and rolled down Saloman Chapa Street.
"Nothing like this has ever happened nowhere here," said Juan Hernandez, who lives on the block where the accident occurred. "For this to happen, it's really shocking. Especially the people screaming. It's still in my head. It's sad."
Police say 16 people were injured in the accident and a woman died. A search and rescue team is looking for up to four more people; including the driver.
"Our priority at this point in time is to find any other victim that is out there," Palmview Fire Chief Gerardo Alaniz said. "To provide first aid and give them medical treatment. That's our priority at this point."
The SUV rolled for quite a bit after it hit a curb, about 100 feet. Investigators say bodies came flying out even further.
"For some reason, the driver came to this area," La Joya Police Chief Geovani Hernandez said. "Farther north, there's an area where they actually in the past, have abandoned their vehicles."
Law enforcement was tracking the SUV because a tip came in that it was carrying a drug load. Investigators say they weren't following the SUV. But as it went north on Coyote Drive, just before La Joya High School, it turned right, gained enough speed after one short block, hit a curb and lost control.
Only the people in the car were hurt. Their specific injuries were not given. Multiple agencies have joined the search for the three to four people still missing.
"We're talking about a four mile radius," Hernandez said of the search area. "We want to cover every little spot."
La Joya High School, Zavala Middle School and West Academy went on lockdown shortly after the accident.