SONOITA, ARIZ. — Ten illegal immigrants in the back of an SUV crammed with at least 27 people were killed when the driver lost control and rolled over on a remote southern Arizona highway, authorities said Sunday.
The Ford Excursion had no rear seat and most of the men and women were ejected when the SUV crashed before midnight Saturday near Sonoita, about 40 miles southeast of Tucson.
Authorities said all the victims were thought to be illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and perhaps Mexico.
Arizona Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Joy Craig said the remote area where the crash happened was a route commonly used by those smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S.
"We see the people stacked like wood frequently," she said. "If they had had the right number of people in there and they all had their seat belts on, they would have lived."
The identity of the driver, passengers and the vehicle's owner are being withheld pending their identification and notification of relatives.