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Teen-Ager Convicted in Fatal Chase Near School

December 23, 1993

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) _ A teen-age immigrant smuggler was convicted of murder for leading Border Patrol agents on a high-speed chase that left six people dead.

Jesus Sandoval Macias was convicted Wednesday by a Superior Court jury. Judge Ronald R. Neumann was to rule Jan. 28 on whether he will be sentenced as a juvenile or an adult.

Macias was 16 at the time of the crash. His 18th birthday was Friday. As a minor, he faces detention until he turns 25. If sentenced as an adult, he faces 16 years to life in prison.

Macias was driving a Chevrolet Suburban carrying 12 illegal Mexican immigrants. He testified that he sped through Temecula, Calif., on June 2, 1992, because he feared the smuggler in charge would kill him if he stopped.

The chase ended in a bloody pileup at Temecula Valley High School as students were arriving for class. The Suburban sliced a car in half, killing two passengers, the driver and two pedestrians. Macias wasn’t injured.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service, parent agency of the Border Patrol, concluded that agents who chased the stolen vehicle ″acted responsibly and exercised good judgment″ during the pursuit.

The incident sparked a congressional hearing and review of pursuit policies. The INS later agreed to prohibit chases when the immediate danger is greater than the potential danger if the suspects remain at large.

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