Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were killed early Thursday, when a train struck and dragged their vehicle while the agents were pursuing suspected drug smugglers.
The accident claimed the lives of agents Hector R. Clark, 39, and Eduardo Rojas, Jr., 35, near Gila Bend, Ariz., at approximately 6 a.m. West Coast time, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection release.
The agents were on duty and driving an unmarked Chevy Tahoe that was struck by a 90-car freight train at the rail crossing of Paloma Road near exit 106 of Interstate 8. The crossing is about nine miles west of Gila Bend.
"On behalf of the entire U.S. Customs and Border Protection family, I would like to share our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, and colleagues of Hector R. Clark and Eduardo Rojas Jr. as we mourn their passing," according to CBP Commissioner Alan D. Bersin.
Agent Clark began his career with the U.S. Border Patrol on Aug. 20, 2001. After graduation from the Border Patrol Academy, he was assigned to the El Centro Sector and was serving as a Lead Border Patrol Agent in the Yuma Sector at the time of his death. Agent Clark was a native of Yuma, Ariz., and is survived by his wife and two children.
Agent Rojas entered the U.S. Border Patrol on April 9, 2000, and was assigned to the Yuma Sector. At the time of the accident, he was serving as a Lead Border Patrol Agent in the Yuma Sector. Agent Rojas was a native of El Paso, Texas, and is survived by his wife and two children.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is the lead agency investigating the incident with assistance from the FBI.