Local News in Brief : San Clemente : Council Is Reassured on Border Patrol Chases

San Clemente City Council members were reassured Wednesday that the U.S. Border Patrol is taking measures to curb dangerous high-speed chases from its immigration checkpoint, five miles south of the city.

Border Patrol Agent Dutch Steenbakker informed the council during its meeting that his agency is working with the California Department of Transportation to construct off-road facilities for secondary vehicle inspections, making it more difficult for suspected smugglers to flee from the checkpoint, Assistant City Manager Greg Hulsizer said Thursday.

City officials asked for the report after a recent chase by Border Patrol agents of a car carrying 10 suspected illegal aliens ended in a crash into a ravine north of Avenida Pico in San Clemente, injuring all the occupants.

Hulsizer said the council also learned that it may be 10 years before a proposed $15-million off-road checkpoint is built near the Las Pulgas exit, five miles south of the present checkpoint.

The City Council expressed its support for the temporary safety measures and the recent release of a written pursuit policy by the Border Patrol, Hulsizer said.

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