“I was working as usual and then I heard screams. I looked around and saw the car running over people and those vendor's carts,” said Javier, a souvenir seller who witnessed the incident at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. "Then he speeded up until we all heard the crash; it was in seconds."
The driver of a gray sedan caused fatal injuries: a 49-year-old woman in a wheelchair, who died at the Rosarito's General Hospital a few hours later and a 70-year-old man. Another witness said that vendors tried to stop the driver, so he drove in between the lanes where vendors display their products.
After running over these two and destroyed two carts, the driver opened his way through the traffic and got to lane 28 which was closed. In this lane the subject had no obstacles to drive northbound. Javier notes that at this point (around 300 yards away from the borderline) he did not stop accelerating.
Information from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection states that around 2 p.m on Tuesday, D,ecember 22 a 27-year-old driver died when he collided with a metal arm gate at a high rate of speed. Later on, the California Highway Patrol confirmed that the man who died in the wreck was an American citizen who lived in Santa Ana.
Silvestre: "This was nothing, the shooting last year – that was intense."
Local media specified that the man was decapitated by the second metal arm gate and died instantaneously. In a video rolled out on social media, in one part of the footage on the Mexican side one can see how he drove through the traffic. In the rest of the video from a filtered CBP's security camera footage, the exact moment of the fatal collision was recorded.
María González, a binational citizen,regrets these incidents; she had frequently bought candies from Cecilia, the vendor who was killed. "That’s how she was earning a living. I have been crossing the border for five years, and she was always here," she said. “I knew the seller killed last year; now even waiting in the lane to go to the U.S. is getting dangerous.”
Cement pole on Mexican side hit by the driver.
In the area that the Tijuana Police Department bragged just this year to be one of the safest areas of the city, several grand auto thefts against bi-national citizens and two murders were registered. One was a driver waiting on the line to cross to the U.S. and the other a man who was killed in front of a curios shop next to the Ready Lane.
For Silvestre, who works selling blankets, this is not surprising, he remembered the shooting that happened one year ago when a man died trying to get into the U.S. "This was nothing, the shooting last year – that was intense." Sellers said that more infrastructure is needed, like speed reducers on the road or more security.