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EL PASO, Texas -- Seven people were killed and three others seriously injured after a vehicle trying to escape Border Patrol crashed into a semi-trailer parked outside a building early Thursday morning in downtown El Paso, authorities said.
The crash, believed to be one of the deadliest in El Paso history, happened at the intersection of Paisano Street and San Antonio Avenue about 2:15 a.m.
El Paso police Sgt. Robert Gomez confirmed there were a total of ten people in the four-door sedan-style compact car at the time it crashed into the semi-trailer, which was being used for storage and was anchored on concrete blocks.
The three survivors were hospitalized in serious but stable condition, according to police and fire officials.
No identities, ages or citizenship statuses were immediately available from authorities for any of those in the car. An investigator told ABC-7 that it was taking time to identify all the bodies and notify relatives - a process that wasn't expected to be completed until sometime Friday.
The crash happened after "U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Santa Teresa and El Paso Stations attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle fled and was subsequently involved in a motor vehicle accident with multiple fatalities," said a statement from Border Patrol.
Gomez indicated that the agents were trying to stop the car for a failure to yield violation, and he noted that stretch of Paisano Street is no stranger to traffic crashes.
"We do know that there are a lot of crashes here, as that curb is very sharp right after downhill from an overpass. A lot of people don't navigate that curb correctly — it is usually do to speed," he explained.
One similar crash occurred back in January, when police said a drunk driver carrying Ecuadorian nationals crashed his van into a pole at the same corner. One person was killed and three others hurt in that crash, which authorities said was a also the result of the driver trying to avoid Border Patrol during a chase.
Police had the area closed off throughout Thursday morning as they worked to investigate this latest crash and clear the scene of wreckage. That stretch of Paisano was finally reopened to motorists during the noon-hour.