An alert Bee County Sheriff's Deputy spotted a suspicious pickup truck Tuesday that turned out to be loaded with illegal immigrants, one of which was only nine years old.

The deputy tried to pull over the truck for a violation in a school zone along Highway 181 just north of Skidmore, but the driver did not stop and led the deputy on a chase.

The deputy said the driver stayed in front of the officer and kept tapping his brakes over and over. He was actually looking for a fence to drive through, and when he found a good spot, he did just that, crashing into a barbed wire fence.

"The vehicle didn't get that far in the brush and got stuck, and most of the occupants ran off and we were able to detain five people," Sheriff Alan Southmayd said. "There were four adults and one child."

In all, investigators said the pickup had around 16 people hiding inside the cab and under a tarp in the bed of the truck.

Those who were detained told deputies that they had left Mexico because of the earthquake. Sheriff Southmayd suspects they were all heading to Houston.

"I would suspect they were headed to Houston just because of the route, but we haven't been able to confirm that. Border Patrol will interview them and we'll learn some more. As far as that vehicle, we know it was in Stafford yesterday but that's about all we know about it."

Stafford is in the Houston area.

Southmayd said this was the fourth immigrant bailout his department has handled over the past month.

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