At 1:50 p.m. on March 8, 1974, the driver of a tractor-trailer parked his vehicle on the shoulder of I-8, approximately 15 feet off the roadway at a location 35 miles west of El Centro, California, in the Jacumba Mountains.
At 1:30 p.m. on the same date, a 1972 Dodge Sportsman multipurpose vehicle (MPV) departed from the El Centro, California, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detention facility via 1-8, bound for Jacumba, California. The vehicle was transporting 18 Mexican nationals. The MPV ascended the eastern slope of westbound I-8, left the roadway, and crashed into the rear of the parked tractor-trailer at 2:15 p.m. The driver and 12 of the 18 passengers were killed, and the 6 survivors received minor to severe injuries.