GILA BEND, Ariz. —
Two Border Patrol agents helping in a pursuit of suspected illegal immigrants in southwest Arizona died Thursday after a freight train collided with their SUV in a mostly agricultural area southwest of Phoenix, authorities said.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio confirmed the agents’ deaths and said the FBI would be taking over the investigation. The crash happened near Gila Bend, which is about 85 miles southwest of Phoenix.
The scene is under investigation, and the agents’ names are being withheld until family is notified.
Yuma Border Patrol sector spokesman Agent Kenneth Quillen said the agents were assisting in the pursuit of a group of suspected illegal immigrants when the crash occurred. But he said it’s unknown exactly what happened.
The Border Patrol also is investigating.
Television video showed a lengthy freight train with what appeared to be a mangled sport utility vehicle in front of the train’s engine. Tarps were placed over some of the wreckage.
The train pushed the SUV down the tracks before coming to a rest.
Border Patrol Agent Michael Espinoza said the agents were assigned to the Yuma sector.