- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

LAKESIDE, Calif., March 10 (UPI) — Two people were killed and 20 were injured Sunday evening when a speeding pickup truck allegedly driven by an immigrant smuggler overturned while being chased by police on an eastern San Diego County freeway.

The crash was the third fatal wreck in less than a year involving a vehicle packed with illegal immigrants being pursued by police on Interstate 8 east of San Diego.

"The driver was speeding at more than 90 mph, and he swerved to avoid spike strips by driving in the center divide and overturned," California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Gregg told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "At that point, the camper shell on the back of the truck came off and people were ejected all over the freeway."

The pickup had been spotted by the Border Patrol in the Imperial Valley and was pursued west along I-8 toward San Diego to the Lakeside area where officers placed a spike strip in the truck's path in an attempt to flatten its tires.

Gregg said the driver swerved to avoid the spike strip, lost control and flipped over. The driver was one of two fatalities. The injured, including a 7-year-old boy, ranged from fair to critical condition.

The accident occurred in the same vicinity of I-8 as a January pursuit and crash that killed three undocumented aliens and injured 15. Last June, six immigrants died when a van driving the wrong way with its lights out on I-8 caused a multi-vehicle pileup, although it was not actively being pursued at the time of the crash.

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