DELANO, Calif. — A couple was killed in a crash while trying to flee from federal immigration agents in California, police said.
Santo Hilario Garcia, 35, and Marcelina Garcia Profecto, 33, were leaving a home in Delano — a rural town in California’s Central Valley — in their SUV on Tuesday when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrived looking for a Mexican citizen who had been deported, according to the city’s police and ICE.
The agents saw that Garcia matched their target’s description and stopped the couple, said Lori Haley, an ICE spokeswoman. The couple initially pulled over, but sped off when the agents exited their vehicle, police said.
The couple lost control of their SUV when it veered into a dirt shoulder. The vehicle overturned and eventually hit a power pole, police said.
“As the officers departed the location of the attempted engagement, they came across the overturned vehicle and immediately dialed 911 for assistance. Local officials were on the scene moments later,” Haley said.
The two occupants of the car were immediately pronounced dead.
ICE later learned that Garcia was not the person the agents had been looking for, the agency said.
Garcia was stopped trying to cross the Mexican border into the United States three times between 2008 and 2017. He was deported under expedited removal last year, Haley said.
Garcia Profecto had no prior encounters with ICE.
United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez said the couple worked as farm workers and had six children between the ages of 8 and 18.
“Marcelina and Santos were just going out and looking for work,” Rodriguez told reporters.