Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

4 dead in Saturday’s I-19 rollover, 10 others hurt

GREEN VALLE — A minivan packed with as many as 14 suspected illegal immigrants crashed on Interstate 19 about 70 miles north of the Mexican border early Saturday, killing four people and injuring 10 others, authorities said.

The crash happened along a section of highway commonly used by human smugglers, who often pack up to two dozen people in large vehicles for the run from the border to Tucson and Phoenix.

An official with the Green Valley Fire Department said three people were dead at the scene, another died at a Tucson hospital and 10 others were seriously injured.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety put the count at three dead and 10 injured. The discrepancy couldn’t be immediately resolved Saturday afternoon, but the fire department was responsible for treating the patients.

The crash happened just after 5 a.m. about 20 miles south of Tucson in the community of Green Valley.

The van was headed north on the divided interstate when the driver lost control, drove into the depressed median and rolled, DPS Sgt. Harold Sanders said. The U.S. Border Patrol was called to the scene because all the van’s occupants were suspected of being illegal immigrants. Agents are working with state authorities to identify the victims and notify next of kin.

Arriving fire crews treated the injured and called several helicopters and ambulances to take them to hospitals in Tucson, about 20 miles to the north, said Green Valley Fire Department Capt. Melissa Smith.

I-19 was closed for several hours after the accident.

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