Three dead, multiple injured after SUV crashes on I-10 near Eloy

Deadly crash on I-10 near Picacho
Posted at 11:08 AM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 12:57:05-04

ELOY, AZ — The Arizona Department of Public Safety along with Homeland Security is investigating a potential case of human smuggling after three people died and multiple others were injured in a crash on Interstate 10 near Eloy.

It started before 9 a.m. Thursday morning when a trooper attempted to make a traffic stop on a Toyota SUV driving erratically on the I -10 westbound near Casa Grande milepost 214 .

The SUV immediately fled from the trooper but lost control and flipped the vehicle across the median into eastbound traffic where it was struck by a tractor-trailer head on. Another car was also hit.

Multiple people in the SUV were thrown from the vehicle, killing three. They have since been identified as Alexis Miguel Fuentes De La Cruz, 22, Omar Ortiz-Ramirez, 36, and Raúl Carranza-Alonso, 39, of Mexico.

The Department of Homeland Security was called in to assist and investigate "attempted human smuggling activity."

Public safety officials say they are seeing more teen drivers being coerced into human smuggling. Officials say the driver of the SUV was identified as 18-year-old Kevin Avila. He was booked into jail on homicide, endangerment, and aggravated assault charges.

"One thing that we are seeing a lot of is a lot of younger drivers ranging from the age of 14 to just over 18 to 20, young drivers that are being propositioned to transport vehicles or people," Major Brant Benham with DPS.

One victim from the SUV remains hospitalized as of April 29. Four victims in the SUV were treated and released from hospitals. The tractor-trailer driver and the box truck driver were also treated and released from hospitals.