UPDATE: Driver in 9x fatal wreck charged

Posted: Updated:
SUV was packed with passengers
azfamily.com

UPDATE: Tuesday Aug 12

Federal authories have charged Guzman Ochoa, 33, of Hermosilla, Mexico with driving the vehicle that killed nine suspected immigrants.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix said Ochoa knowingly transported and moved people who were in the U.S. Illegally.

At least two of the survivors identified Ochoa and a man who died in the crash as their guides across the border at Agua Prieta, Mexico.

UPDATE: Friday. Aug. 8

TUCSON -- Federal and Arizona authorities say they may have identified the suspected driver among 10 survivors of a rural highway crash that killed nine others packed into a sport utility vehicle.

All 19 in the SUV are believed to be illegal immigrants.

Guatemalan Consul General Oscar Padilla in Phoenix says at least five of the survivors are from El Salvador and three from Mexico, and at least one of those who died was from Guatemala.

Padilla and his counterparts from El Salvador and Mexico are helping Pima County Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Parks as he works to identify the victims of Thursday's crash on State Route 79 about 15 miles south of Florence.

Authorities say they're continuing to investigate what they believe was a human smuggling operation.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

ORIGINAL REPORT: Thursday, Aug. 7

FLORENCE -- Nine people were killed and 10 more were hurt in a single-vehicle rollover on the highway outside of Florence.

It happened Thursday morning on State Route 79 north of Tom Mix Monument, which is about 17 miles south of Florence.

The first call came in about 8:30 a.m.

According to DPS, a 1998 GMC SUV carrying a total of 19 people rolled over on the right side of the road at about milepost 117, 15 miles south of Florence.

DPS said the SUV was traveling north on SR 79 at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control. The vehicle went off the road and into a wash. The SUV flipped, coming to rest on its roof.

Nine people were confirmed dead on the scene. The medical examiner is en route.

The 10 injured people were flown to Tucson Medical Center, as well as Good Samaritan Hospital and Maricopa County Medical Center in Phoenix.

Most of the passengers had to be extricated from the vehicle.

DPS confirmed that the occupants of the SUV were undocumented immigrants. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are on the scene, working with DPS. It's not known at this point if any coyotes were among the dead.

While the SUV was apparently going quite fast, it was not being chased at the time of the wreck.

The highway is open in both directions, but travel is limited.

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