Officials identify Border Patrol agent killed Tuesday in ATV crash near Douglas

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office has released the identity of the Border Patrol agent killed in an ATV crash Tuesday night in Douglas, Arizona.

Officials said 44-year-old Freddy Ortiz was killed when he struck a fixed light pole while driving an all-terrain vehicle near an intersection in Douglas, about 1,000 feet from the U.S.-Mexico border. Ortiz was responding to a call for undocumented immigrants and was heading westbound on West International Avenue, said Carol Capas, a spokeswoman for CCSO.

At 7:09 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office received a call of a single vehicle collision near Chino Road and West 5th Street in Douglas. Border Patrol agents discovered the accident scene, and medical
personnel were dispatched, Capas said.

Ortiz was transported to the
Copper Queen Hospital in Douglas, where he was pronounced dead, she said.

Ortiz’s “on-duty death is a tragedy
and a stark reminder of the dangerous nature of our mission,” said John
Modlin, Chief Patrol Agent for the Tucson Sector. “I am grateful for all the
Border Patrol agents, first responders, and medical staff who attempted
to save his life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends,
and loved ones.”

“It is an incredibly sad day for our brothers
and sisters in Border Patrol and we have only the highest level of
respect for the job these brave souls do every single day. God bless all
of those in his work family and his home family, and know we are here
if you need us,” said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels.

“All public safety agencies within Cochise County stand in mourning with
our brothers in arms, United States Border Patrol, and their families as
they grieve for the loss of one of their own,” wrote Capas.

The investigation is being continued by the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and U.S Customs and Border Protection’s, Office of Professional Responsibility and additional information will be released as it becomes available, she said.

While agents regularly uses ATVs and motorcycles to patrol the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border, multiple agents have been seriously injured and two agents have died in crashes involving the vehicles over the last decade.

In December, Border Patrol Agent Raul H. Gonzalez Jr. died from injuries sustained after he crashed his ATV while on patrol near McAllen, Texas.

In 2018, a Border Patrol agent was seriously injured when he crashed his ATV into a marker sign near a cattle guard at Highway 80 and was thrown onto a highway near Douglas. As the agent stood, he was hit by a passing vehicle.

In 2016, 37-year-old Manuel Alvarez died from a motorcycle crash while on duty on the Tohono O’odham Nation south of Sells, Arizona.