Suspected illegal immigrant struck and killed on I-19

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Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013 9:34 am

A 19-year-old woman from Oaxaca, Mexico, who was part of a suspected group of illegal immigrants, was killed Sunday night after being struck by two vehicles on Interstate 19 near Amado.

Brent Cagen of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector said agents from the Nogales Station attempted to intercept the group after receiving a report from a mobile surveillance system operator. At approximately 7:21 p.m., the female was struck and killed in the southbound lanes of I-19 near Kilometer 45.

“At the time of the incident the group was not being actively pursued by Border Patrol agents,” Cagen said.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety, the lead investigative agency in the case, had no additional information, other than to say that its officers temporarily closed southbound I-19 at the scene following the collision.

Sheriff Antonio Estrada said his officers told him the woman, whose name has not been released, attempted to cross I-19 and “jumped out of the way of a shuttle van and into the path of a small sedan.” Another vehicle then hit her as well, Estrada said.

The first vehicle, driven by a Rio Rico man, left the scene before being stopped at Kilometer 28 by Border Patrol agents, Estrada said. The driver of the second vehicle is from Nogales. He was taken to Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital when he began to feel chest pains, Estrada said.

Estrada drove through the area at about 9 p.m.

“DPS did a very good job signaling motorists. They had signs warning of an accident ahead and barricades up to keep the traffic flowing smoothly,” he said, from the Amado exit to the Agua Fria on-ramp.

It was the second time in less than five months that a suspected illegal immigrant was struck and killed on I-19 in Santa Cruz County. On Oct. 14, 2012, Jose Luis Audelo Muñoz, 28, of Sonora, was killed Oct. 14 as he attempted to cross the interstate on foot near the Grand Avenue junction in an apparent attempt to escape arrest by Border Patrol agents.