6 killed, 7 hurt when SUV rolls during Texas police chase

Published 9:55 am Thursday, September 24, 2015

EDNA, Texas — An SUV crammed with at least 15 people rolled during a police chase in South Texas early Thursday, leaving at least six people dead and seven more injured, police said.

Police are trying to determine who was driving the 2003 Ford Explorer when it crashed in Edna, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. Two people who ran from the scene were tracked down and detained, police Chief Clinton Wooldridge said.

Authorities are trying to identify the victims, some of whom came from Honduras and Guatemala, Wooldridge said. He had no information on their legal status, but said the vehicle seemed to have been adapted to fit in many passengers, hinting at the possibility of a people-trafficking operation.

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“Officers noted that the rear seat in the vehicle had been folded down and the middle seat had previously been removed, apparently to create more room in the vehicle,” Wooldridge said.

Officers tried to stop the SUV for a traffic violation but the vehicle sped away and police gave chase. As the vehicle veered onto Highway 59, the driver seemed to overcorrect and the SUV flipped several times, police said.

Four people died at the scene and two more died at hospitals, Wooldridge said. Seven others were hospitalized.