Driver slowed or stopped before crash killed 13 migrants

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Testimony released Monday says the driver of an SUV packed with migrants stopped or slowed before getting slammed by a tractor-trailer in one of the deadliest border-related crashes.

Results of the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary investigation include the first published account of the driver of a tractor-trailer, who survived the March 2 crash in California’s Imperial Valley that killed 13 of 25 people inside the 1997 Ford Expedition, including the driver.

The driver of the big rig suffered moderate injuries. The deceased are from Mexico and Guatemala.

Officials announced on March 30 that a man was arrested for allegedly coordinating the human smuggling operation that led to the deadly crash. Jose Cruz Noguez, 47, of Mexicali, Mexico, was arrested as he crossed into the United States at the Calexico Port of Entry.

Cruz was reportedly identified by another suspected smuggler who was arrested at the Campo Border Patrol Station for an unrelated smuggling event on March 15, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Cruz faces charges of conspiracy to bring aliens to the United States outside a port of entry causing serious bodily injury/placing a life in jeopardy and bringing in aliens without presentation for financial gain.

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