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By Bev Odom/The Red Rive Sun—
WELLINGTON — A local farmer said he didn’t even see the van traveling in fog with no headlights when he hit the right front panel around 8:30 a.m. Oct. 21. The van skidded through a barbed wire fence into a nearby field but did not roll. The occupants took off running on foot to the north.
Collingsworth County Sheriff Kent Riley said Constable Ronnie Ward, Wellington EMT Michael Ryan, Donley and Wheeler County deputies, Wheeler County Constable Kenneth Martindale, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Criminal Justice and game warden Jared Self, all assisted in apprehending all 13 immigrants.
“We caught them about two miles north,” Riley said. “The blood hound dogs supplied by the Childress TDCJ tracked them down. With a juvenile involved, we used precautions. We caught them in three different bunches.”
The wreck occurred at approximately 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21 near the intersection of FM 203 and County Road 170. With no vehicle identification number and a hand-made license plate on the van, authorities believe the crew was headed from Florida to California.