A young migrant woman from El Salvador died after being struck by a vehicle early Tuesday morning as she attempted to cross a highway in a well-known human smuggling area. The woman appeared to be running toward a ranch to circumvent the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint located on U.S. Highway 281 in Brooks County, Texas.
Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez told Breitbart Texas that a 21-year-old Salvadoran woman attempted to cross Highway 281 from east to west near Encino when a northbound vehicle struck her. The woman died from the impact.
“The young lady appeared to be attempting to get to a ranch on the west side of the highway when a vehicle struck her,” Sheriff Martinez said. “Human smugglers utilize the ranches in this area south of the checkpoint to move these people north of the checkpoint. This tactic is far-too-frequently the cause of the death of many of these migrants.”
Martinez said the woman was not being chased by law enforcement at the time of the collision. Border Patrol officials told Breitbart they had no contact with the woman prior to her death. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers responded to take over the investigation.
The body of the Salvadoran woman is being transported to the Webb County Medical Examiner’s office for official identification and determination of the cause of death.
Martinez said the woman is the third person to be found dead this month. In August, his deputies had to carry out the recovery of 23 bodies or skeletal remains of recently deceased migrants.
“We are up more than 200 percent in terms of the number of deaths in our small county,” the sheriff continued. “At one point in August, our deputies recovered 13 bodies in six days.”
“It takes a toll on our deputies and staff,” Martinez said. “Some of our guys are young and haven’t had to deal with these numbers of dead bodies before. It is hard for everyone, but we have to put it aside and move on to the next one — and, unfortunately, the next one is coming.”
Martinez said he told Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that they need more help especially in the area of medically trained Border Patrol agents. With the current crisis along the border, many agents have been pulled off the line to process and transport the tens of thousands of migrants crossing the border on a weekly basis.
The death of the woman occurred near the location where 20 migrants died in a rollover crash early in August, Breitbart Texas reported. Sheriff Martinez told Breitbart Texas that a human smuggling van overloaded crashed on Wednesday evening killing at least 10 migrants. He said approximately 20 others were transported to multiple area hospitals. The smugglers packed approximately 30 people into the single utility van.
The migrant death toll in this one Texas county located 80 miles from the Texas-Mexico border now stands at 87 for this calendar year.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s Sunday-morning talk show, What’s Your Point? Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.
Editor’s Note: This article initially identified the woman as a Guatemalan national. The article has been updated to correctly identify her as a citizen of El Salvador.