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Two of 4 hurt in multi-fatal I-70 van crash released from hospital

Published May 19, 2014 1:01 pm

Human smuggling? • Four dead in last Friday's accident involving undocumented immigrants.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Two of four men injured in last week's multiple fatality crash of a van carrying undocumented immigrants on Interstate 70 had been released from hospitals as of Monday.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce two other men remained hospitalized in serious condition from the crash last Friday in Grand County, near the Utah-Colorado border, that killed four other men.

The status of the two released from the hospital was not immediately clear. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was investigating the incident, but ICE officials did not immediately return inquiries Monday about the case.

Royce said the van's lone female occupant remained at large, having fled the scene of the 4:30 a.m. Friday near mile marker 198, about 34 miles west of the Utah-Colorado line on eastbound I-70.

Efforts continued to confirm the identities of the dead, as well as survivors of the crash. No new information was available as of Monday.

The van was suspected of being part of a human trafficking operation. Secondary, rural highways are favored by so-called "coyotes," who specialize in sneaking workers from south of the border into the United States.

On Oct. 11, 2005, a van carrying 15 people — including 14 who allegedly had entered the country illegally — rolled near Moab. Two passengers were killed.

Three years later, Raul Ramirez-Becerra, then 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of transporting undocumented immigrants resulting in death and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.


Twitter: @remims




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