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Agents Struck by Train Were Helping Nab Smugglers

Agents Struck by Train Were Helping Nab Smugglers

The wreckage of the Border Agents' SUV is removed from the accident scene Thursday, May 12, 2011 in Gila Bend, Ariz. Authorities say a fast-moving freight train that collided with the SUV, killing two Border Patrol agents, tried to get the driver's attent

Associated Press

May 14, 2011

PHOENIX – Two U.S. Border Patrol agents who died when their SUV was struck by a fast-moving train in southern Arizona were trying to head off a group of marijuana smugglers, the agency said.

Investigators have declined to speculate on what might have caused the crash but revealed Friday the SUV was moving as slow as 3 mph when it was struck. They’ll examine the wreckage for any signs of mechanical problems, a Maricopa County sheriff’s spokesman said.

The crash happened early Thursday as another group of agents less than a mile south of the train tracks were pursuing six illegal immigrants who were on foot and carrying marijuana bales on their backs, Border Patrol spokesman Kenneth Quillin said.

Agents Eduardo Rojas Jr. and Hector Clark were trying to cut off the smugglers as they moved north. The agents’ SUV was struck at a railroad crossing in a rural farming area near the town of Gila Bend, about 85 miles southwest of Phoenix.

The six illegal immigrants were arrested.

“We have individuals actively following the group, and then the assisting agents will try to corral them so they slow down and we can catch them,” Quillin said. “It’s basic Border Patrol operations.”

The westbound Union Pacific train with 75 cars was moving at about 62 mph when it hit the SUV, pushing the vehicle a half-mile to a mile down the tracks.

The distance the SUV was pushed indicates it was moving as slow as 3 mph when the collision occurred, said Detective Aaron Douglas, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the deaths.

“It would have deflected once the SUV absorbed all the energy from the train,” Douglas said. “And the truck would have ended up in a different location.”

Douglas said he wouldn’t speculate on whether the vehicle’s low speed was indicative of a stall. But he said investigators will examine the wreckage of the SUV to see if there were mechanical problems.

The SUV was unmarked but equipped with police lights. Before the collision, the train conductor and engineer spotted the vehicle driving on an access road alongside the tracks. They sounded a horn a quarter-mile before the crossing.

Union Pacific said its crew had no warning that the SUV would turn in front of the train.

The privately owned railroad crossing where the wreck occurred is marked but doesn’t have railroad crossing arms or warning lights.

There have been six previous accidents at the crossing dating back to 1984, but only one involved a fatality. One person died in July 2003 when a semi-truck driver failed to make a complete stop and was struck by a train.

  • Hpim0324_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    RIP my Brothers. This the special week when we celebrate the brave officers, who gave their lives in the duty of protecting the USA. You will always be remembered and missed God keep you safe at His side

  • Thin_blue_line_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP Brothers, Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.

  • Dhs_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest In Peace, Brothers.

  • 101_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace Brother

  • Me_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Losing one brother Leo is bad enough, but losing two at the same time is very painful to say the least. God Bless Leo's Rojas and Clark and their famiilies.

  • French_chopper_seat_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends, and colleagues of Agents Rojas and Clark. May they rest in peace, as we honor them for their sacrifice in the defense of our nation.

  • 103_0470_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP. Thank you fro your service and sacrifice to make us safe. Thoughts and prayers to your family and dept.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in peace, my brothers. May God comfort and bless your family and friends.

  • Garita2_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIB s

  • Win_20140410_232326_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Rest In Peace Agent Eduardo Rojas Jr. and Agent Hector Clark. Our prayers are for your families, friends, & department as they pass thru thi time of loss.

    God’s Garden
    Author Unknown

    God looked around his garden
    and found an empty space
    He then looked down
    upon the earth,
    and saw your tired face.
    He put his arms around you
    and lifted you to rest.

    God's garden must be beautiful
    He always takes the best.
    He knew that you were suffering
    He knew you were in pain
    He knew that you would never
    get well on earth again.

    He saw the road was getting rough,
    and the hills were hard to climb.
    so He closed your weary eyelids,
    and whispered "peace be thine"
    it broke our hearts to loose you
    But you did NOT go alone,
    for part of US went with you
    the day God called you home.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    I blame Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr and BO for these deaths. If they would close our GD borders instead of trying to win votes these agents would be alive today. Hell Reagan gave 3 million amnesty for FREE!!! Our enemies laugh at us.........

  • Uniphone1_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace Brothers, and God Bless!

    "Train for the Fight"

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