Seven people were injured following a crash along northbound State Route 125 in Chula Vista, federal officials said Monday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees called California Highway Patrol officers after a driver lost control and crashed into a ravine near Birch Road at midnight.
U.S. Border Patrol Public Affairs Officer for the San Diego Sector Tekae Michael said an agent tried to stop a Ford Expedition on Otay Mesa Road.
The driver, who refused to pull over for the BP agent, continued onto SR-125, Michael said.
Seven people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals, Michael said. All were Mexican nationals who were illegally in the country, he added.
Their injuries are considered to be non-life threatening.
Michael said the SUV was believed to be involved in illegal activity at the time the agent attempted to pull over the driver.
Border Patrol Agent Mark Endicott told NBC 7 the SUV was involved in human smuggling.
"There have been previous smuggling incidents taking place in the same area in the past, so it is an area known for smuggling activity," Endicott said.
He added that in most cases of human smuggling, the vehicle will pick up "human cargo" and then head north.
"Smugglers will cut the fence and it's just a straight shot from the primary fence to the secondary fence, maybe about 75 to 100-yard sprint," Endicott explained. "Then right there they assimilate. There's many places for them to hide and they'll just try to go to the nearest road to be picked up by a smuggling conveyance."
Endicott said the incident was another example of smugglers who had "utter disregard" for people and only cared for their own profits.
State Route 125, also known as the South Bay Expressway, connects I-905 and State Route 54.
No other information was available.
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