Culberson County continues to be an active border crossing and human smuggling route where many migrants hope to change their lives over a thousand-mile journey (in some cases) by foot or other dangerous means. Last Thursday at about 10 pm, local Border Patrol Agency responded to a report of a group of twelve suspected undocumented migrants walking in the desert south of I-10 near Van Horn. Agents tracked the group as they walked north towards the interstate. When the group emerged from the brush and crossed a fence line, a foot pursuit ensued.
As the migrants crossed I-10, 23-year-old Yairet Zuleima Nunez, a female citizen of Moroleon, Guanajuato, Mexico, was struck by a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado pickup towing a travel trailer and driven by 57-year-old Keith Elliot Buonafede of Peoria, Arizona. According to a Texas Department of Public Safety report, preliminary investigations revealed that Buonafede was traveling east on Interstate 10 at the 138 milepost when he observed a large group of 10 to 12 people running across the road. Buonafede attempted to avoid the pedestrians but struck one as they crossed.
The group of pedestrians were reported to be undocumented migrants trying to evade apprehension. Culberson County Emergency Medical Services were immediately dispatched to the scene; however, the woman succumbed to her injuries and was declared deceased by the Culberson County Justice of the Peace Rita Carrasco.
This incident is being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety and is being reviewed by the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility. The DHS Office of Inspector General was also notified. This is the second undocumented person hit and killed on the interstate near Van Horn in the last 30 days.