Iowa crash kills nine suspected illegals

| 1/3/2003

A pickup crammed with people suspected of being illegal immigrants smashed into a big rig on Iowa's I-80 early Jan. 2, killing all nine people in the smaller truck, WHO television reported.

The eastbound pickup allegedly crossed the median and hit the semi head-on around 2:30 a.m. about 30 miles west of Des Moines. All of the victims reportedly were Hispanic men and women.

Estela Biesemeyer, a spokesperson with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Des Moines, told The Associated Press the number of people in the pickup, their ethnicity and the fact they were headed east led investigators to suspect a smuggling operation.

The cause of the crash was under investigation. Police said the pickup might have lost control in the snow.

The truckdriver, William Dean Hansen, 55, was reportedly treated and released from a nearby hospital.