DELANO, Calif. — A man and woman were killed Tuesday when they crashed their SUV trying to flee from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents in the Central valley, police said.
The Delano Police Department identified the couple as 35-year-old Santo Hilario Garcia and 33-year-old Marcelina Garcia Protecto.
The collision was reported shortly before 7 a.m. on the 3000 block of West Cecil Avenue, near Kern Valley State Prison. Police said the couple initially pulled over when the agents activated their emergency lights but raced away when the agents exited their vehicle.
The speeding SUV veered onto a dirt shoulder, overturned and hit a power pole, according to police.
The couple was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a statement, Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants’ rights at the ACLU of Southern California, said her organization has received reports from Kern County and other Central Valley locations of ICE staking out roads farm workers use to get to work and pulling them over in unmarked vehicles during early morning hours “without any lawful basis.”
The tactic, she added, has resulted in “numerous unlawful arrests.”
“As in this case, drivers and passengers stop, after being signaled to pull over, believing the officers to be police, but only come to learn after being approached, questioned, and arrested that the officers are actually ICE,” Pasquarella said.
“This incident demonstrates just how dangerous ICE’s unlawful practices are to our communities,” she continued. “This horrible tragedy is a direct result of ICE’s inhumane tactics and the fear it provokes in hardworking people who stand to lose everything if they are deported.”
Reached by email for comment, a spokeswoman for ICE said the federal agency was preparing a statement on the fatal collision. One had not been released as of about 7 p.m. Wednesday.
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Source: East Bay Couple killed trying to flee ICE agents in Central Valley