Border Agent Killed by Fleeing Vehicle in California

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A Border Patrol agent trying to stop a vehicle that had illegally entered the U.S. was struck and killed Saturday in southeastern California, agency officials said.

The agent was killed about 20 miles west of Yuma in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, a spot along the border that is popular with off-road vehicle enthusiasts and frequently used by smugglers.

The agent attempted to impede the vehicle's progress before he was hit, but the Border Patrol did not immediately have more information, said agent Eric Anderson, a spokesman for the agency's Yuma sector.

The name of the agent killed was not immediately released because his family had not been notified.

Witnesses told the Yuma Sun newspaper that agents were chasing a Hummer and a Ford pickup on Interstate 8 when the vehicles turned into the dunes and fled toward Mexico. The agent was trying to place spike strips in their path and was struck by the Hummer, they said.

The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest dunes in California, extending north of the border for 40 miles and averaging five miles wide.