Hwy 54 high-speed chase ends in flames

A high-speed chase came to a fiery end 54 miles north of Van Horn. Photo: Culberson County Sheriff's Office
A high-speed chase came to a fiery end 54 miles north of Van Horn. Photo: Culberson County Sheriff's Office

Culberson County 911 Dispatch received a call last Sunday evening around 7:00 p.m. from an individual who observed a pickup, parked at the weigh Station off-ramp a few miles west of Van Horn on I-10, with several people jumping into the bed of the truck. The pickup exited I-10 at Van Horn, failing to yield to law enforcement lights and beginning a high-speed chase north on Highway 54.

Several law enforcement agencies and responders took part in what resulted in the pickup becoming engulfed in flames and the driver and six passengers fleeing into the desert about 50 miles from town. Guadalupe National Park Rangers placed road spikes across Hwy 54 at the point where the driver, an alleged human smuggler, decided to take his chances driving off-road with little concern for the people he was carrying in the bed of the truck. 

Other agencies assisting in the crash and apprehension of the smuggler and the six Honduran nationals identified were Hudspeth County Sheriff deputies, DPS, USBP, Culberson County Constable and Van Horn and Dell City Volunteer Fire Departments along with assistance from the air coordinated by Chris Stahl and his crew on behalf of the landowner of the site of the crash. Although nobody was injured, the pickup was a total loss. 

That same morning, a high-speed chase from the checkpoint in Sierra Blanca ended at the Desert Inn motel on Broadway in Van Horn where two individuals fled across the railroad tracks into residential areas. They were subsequently apprehended and determined to be Guatemalan nationals. Two additional Guatemalan nationals were discovered in a room at the motel. 

Sheriff Oscar Carrillo reports that high-speed chases are so common due to the influx of immigrants crossing the border in the area and being picked-up by smugglers, that the monthly average of 6 since January, 2021 for the combined agencies efforts, was once the yearly average.