Police discovered 18 suspected illegal aliens and arrested two suspected smugglers when their van crashed into a block wall after a brief chase Wednesday night.
An officer attempted to stop the van for a routine moving violation--failure to yield--after it made a right turn directly in front of a police car, forcing the officer to brake suddenly.
The van sped away, entering the westbound Riverside Freeway at Main Street and exiting at the next ramp. After running a red light at Lincoln Avenue and Pomona Road, Police Lt. Roy VanderKallen said, the van’s driver tried to make a left turn and lost control, striking a low wall near a mobile-home park.
No injuries were reported.
The driver, David M. Jimerson, 18, is being held on $5,000 bail at Corona City Jail on suspicion of alien smuggling and evading arrest. Authorities planned to transfer Jimerson, whose address was not immediately known, to Riverside County Jail later Thursday.
The other suspected smuggler, whose name and address were withheld because he is a minor, is being held at Riverside County Juvenile Hall, VanderKallen said.
“They did mention that they were, indeed, smuggling (the aliens) over and even went into the origins of how their smuggling began,” VanderKallen said.
U.S. Border Patrol agents took custody of the suspected illegal aliens, said Ron Barbeau, special agent in charge of the Border Patrol’s Temecula station. The group consisted of four Salvadorans, two Hondurans and 12 Mexicans, including two boys ages 10 and 12.