Eight immigrants killed in Texas ute crash

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Eight people in a ute loaded with immigrants have been killed when the vehicle crashed into another truck during a police chase in Texas.

The chase began when the driver refused to pull over for a traffic violation near the border city of Del Rio, authorities said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said troopers were chasing a red Dodge ute on US Highway 277 on Monday afternoon when the truck collided head-on with a white Ford F-150 nearly 50 kilometres north of Del Rio.

The driver and a child passenger of the Ford F-150 were hospitalised, as was one of the passengers from the ute, according to the agency's statement.

All eight of the people killed and the surviving passenger of the ute were immigrants in the US without authorisation, according to DPS.

In a statement on Tuesday, the agency did not specify what type of traffic violation occurred that prompted patrol troopers to pursue the ute.

The people killed were all Mexican nationals between the ages of 18 and 20, according to Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez. He said seven were men and one was a woman.

The driver of the ute, Sebastian Tovar, 24, ran away following the crash, but was later arrested, according to the state agency.

A DPS spokesman said Tovar was booked into federal custody and additional state charges were pending.