Crash on U.S. 77

The approximate location of a crash on U.S. 77 that occurred Monday morning. Two individuals who authorities suspect may be connected to a bailout that occurred Sunday evening fled the scene and had not been apprehended as of Monday afternoon.

Two people fled the scene of a crash on U.S. 77 about four miles south of Schulenburg Monday morning.

Authorities in Lavaca County believe the incident is linked to a bailout that occurred Sunday night.

A white GMC pickup truck failed to yield at a stop sign and collided with a small black vehicle at the intersection of U.S. 77 and County Road 222, just across the Fayette County line, before 10:30 a.m. Monday, said Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon. The pickup truck was reported stolen in Houston.

The two occupants of the pickup truck fled the scene, Harmon said. A drone search conducted by game wardens failed to locate the two people, who were described as a 5-feet 5-inch man wearing a white shirt and camouflage pants and a 5-feet,10-inch male wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans. A search is being conducted near the county line on the west side of U.S. 77.

Photos from the scene of the crash show the front of the small black badly damaged. The driver’s sole occupant refused medical treatment, Harmon said.

The back seat of the white pickup truck was removed, and there were blankets in the back of the truck.

“All indications are it’s a vehicle used for human smuggling,” Harmon said.

The crash forced the temporary reduction of U.S. 77 down to one lane, according to Lavaca County’s Office of Emergency Management.

Authorities believe the two people who fled the scene of the crash Monday were connected to a bailout of about 10 to 12 suspected illegal immigrants in the area of Farm-to-Market Road 532 and County Road 221B near Hackberry, on the east side of U.S. 77, Sunday evening.

It is possible the occupants of the white GMC were trying to pick up the people who had bailed out for further transport, Harmon said.

Residents in the vicinity have been notified by patrol deputies as well as through the CodeRED reverse 911 notification system.

Harmon also advised residents in the area to be on the lookout for anyone walking slowly along roadways or through pastures, as well as unfamiliar vehicles driving slowly along rural roads.

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Mark Rosenberg reports on local, regional and breaking news for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. He can be reached at mrosenberg@vicad.com or 361-574-1264 or on Twitter at @markrosenberg32. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com/report.

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