Driver of pickup carrying 18 killed in crash

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on October 19, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 23 at 9:36 AM

Map: Country Club & Baseline

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MESA, Ariz. -- One person is dead, several others are in the hospital and yet more have been taken into custody by Customs Immigration and Enforcement after a pickup truck slammed into a pole at a major Mesa intersection overnight.

The intersection of Country Club Drive and Baseline Road is closed while detectives conduct their investigation.

Investigators are still trying to piece everything together, but they have confirmed that the driver of a pickup truck was killed. They also said the truck was carrying as many as 18 people, both men and women, many of them in the bed under a tarp. All of the people in the truck reportedly are Hispanic and are believed to be in the country illegally.

It started after midnight in the area of Power Road and Southern Avenue. An officer spotted the white pickup and noticed the person behind the wheel was driving erratically. The officer tried to pull the truck over, but the driver refused to stop.

After taking a circuitous route to try to get away, the driver eventually lost control of the truck and plowed into a pole.

In the wake of the crash, ICE agents took several people into custody. Several others were taken to local hospitals.

"I seen at least seven people on the floor, just blood everywhere" said one witness who did not want to be identified.

Video from the scene showed what appeared to be blood on the truck's passenger-side door.

The intersection of Country Club Drive and Baseline Road re-opened at about 8:30 a.m.

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