Crash of suspected smuggling van in Utah: 4 dead, 4 injured, 1 missing

Authorities suspect a van involved in a human smuggling operation crashed before dawn Friday in Utah, killing four people and injuring at least four of the other five occupants.
(Utah Department of Public Safety)

A van believed to be involved in a human-smuggling operation crashed near the Utah-Colorado border early Friday morning, killing four and injuring four others. Authorities were searching for one passenger who fled.

The burgundy-colored 1999 Toyota Sienna was carrying nine people when it rolled over multiple times on a remote, eastbound stretch of I-70 in Grand County, Utah, said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce. The van came to a rest on the right lane of the flat road, about 30 miles shy of Colorado.

Authorities were still investigating what caused the crash, which prompted a 911 call about 4:30 a.m. The four victims, with serious to critical injuries, were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., where they faced questions from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

The hospital declined to provide information about the injured.


Carl Rusnock, an ICE spokesman in Dallas, said Friday afternoon that the nine people in the van included Mexicans and Salvadorans. Witness told investigators that the person who fled the scene was a woman, he said.