U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed to NBC 7 that the rollover crash on the South Bay Expressway toll road occurred during a pursuit that began near the U.S.-Mexico border.
One person died and four others were transported to a nearby hospital after an SUV flipped seven times into the grass median of State Route 125 just before 7 a.m., a witness and law enforcement officials confirmed.
A man who was traveling northbound on SR-125 said he saw patrol lights behind him and moved over to get out of the way.
That’s when he said he saw the SUV pass by him, swerve to the left and lose control, flipping seven times.
The vehicle came to rest in the middle of the thoroughfare connecting the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and State Route 54. The crash affected commuters trying to travel from south of Otay Lakes Road to Olympic Parkway.
All lanes of the toll road were closed for several hours.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the pursuit was launched at 6:53 a.m. when officials attempted to stop a vehicle on Alta Road near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.
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Four people suspected of illegally entering the U.S. got into an SUV, U.S. Border Patrol Public Affairs Officer Theron Francisco said.
The SUV rolled at 6:57 a.m., CBP officials said.
"Agents immediately rendered aid to the injured," Francisco said. He did not identify the injured and said that will not happen until they are released from the hospital and then processed by the U.S. Border Patrol.
One male passenger was pinned in the wreckage and died from his injuries. He has not been identified.
One passenger was ejected and suffered what were described as severe injuries.
A 29-year-old female driver, a 25-year-old female passenger and a male passenger were also injured. All were transported to Scripps Mercy Hospital, CBP officials said. The two males injured were 21 and 18 years old, officials said.
The SUV was registered in Sacramento and not reported stolen, according to CHP officials.