July 28, 2022

A Border Patrol and Cochise County, Arizona Police pursuit of a suspect vehicle ended with the pursued vehicle crashing, killing one of the passengers, a U.S. citizen, in Benson, Arizona.

Following an off-and-on pursuit lasting more than two hours, CBP reported (original link):

A Supervisory Border Patrol Agent terminated the pursuit at approximately 3:47 p.m. due to it approaching the city of Benson.

The pursuing agent de-activated his emergency equipment and, shortly thereafter, observed an unmarked Benson Police Department vehicle ahead of him activate its emergency lights in an attempt to stop the suspect vehicle. The Border Patrol agent then reactivated his emergency lights and, almost simultaneously, the suspect vehicle collided with a GMC Yukon near the intersection of SR 90 and Village Loop.

The driver of the suspect vehicle, fleeing at excessive speed, lost control after a tire, damaged earlier by a Border Patrol vehicle immobilization device, came off entirely.

In addition to the deceased U.S. citizen passenger, the driver—also a U.S. citizen—was flown to a Tucson hospital with serious injuries. “Two undocumented migrants” aboard the vehicle were treated for “minor injuries” at the Benson Hospital. The Arizona Daily Star reported in October 2022:

The front-seat passenger in the car that crashed into Lehman died, 67-year-old Donald Childers of Tucson.

The driver, 25-year-old Elanah Tucker, was transported to Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson, with a broken femur. She was later charged with seven felonies, including first-degree murder and second-degree murder. A warrant is out for her arrest.

The driver of the GMC Yukon hit by the pursued vehicle, a U.S. citizen, “was taken to a local hospital with extensive injuries, including a broken femur, tibia and ankle,” the Star added.

CBP reported that the Arizona Department of Public Safety and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were investigating the crash. “It is under review by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the DHS Office of Inspector General was notified.”

— U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Man Dies in Traffic Accident After Evading Sheriff, U.S. Border Patrol,” August 5, 2022. <https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/speeches-and-statements/man-dies-traffic-accident-after-evading-sheriff-us-border-patrol>.

— Khmara, Danyelle. “Border Patrol Pursuits, Deadly Crashes Increase in Southern Arizona.” Arizona Daily Star, October 16, 2022. <https://tucson.com/news/local/subscriber/border-patrol-pursuits-deadly-crashes-increase-in-southern-arizona/article_387cbca0-4055-11ed-b05c-7ff78bf37148.html>.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Vehicle Pursuit

Accountability Status: Shared with DHS OIG, Under ICE-HSI Investigation, Under Local Police investigation, Under OPR Investigation

Victim Classification: U.S. Citizen or Resident