A van suspected of carrying 30 immigrants crashed on a remote South Texas highway, killing at least 10 people.

The crash happened on U.S. 281 in Encino, Texas, shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday. The vehicle, which was designed to hold only 15 passengers, was reportedly speeding.

At some point, the driver lost control of the heavy van and it veered off Highway 281. It then crashed into a metal utility pole and a stop sign, NBC News reported.

"They were traveling at a speedway too fast to try to maneuver that curve and went into the metal utility pole," Sgt. Nathan Brandley of the Texas Department of Public Safety told the outlet.

The van did not have any seats or passenger restraints, Reuters said in a report.

The van's driver and nine of its passengers were killed due to the impact. The remaining passengers, some of whom were said to be in critical condition, were taken to a hospital.

According to Brandley, the incident occurred several miles from a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint. He believes that the passengers were illegal immigrants.

The vehicle was not being pursued at the time of the incident, Brooks County Sheriff Urbino Martinez told KTRK. No information about the van and its owner was released by the police.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident. Meanwhile, Texas police are now working with the Mexican consulate to identify the passengers.

This year, smuggling attempts have reached a near-record level in Texas. According to the Dallas Morning Post, most drivers recruited for the smuggling runs are young people who take enormous risks to make money quickly. They often end up driving recklessly or speeding, causing deadly crashes.

In recent times, speeding vehicles crammed with migrants have slammed into homes, business establishments and other vehicles. These crashes are not only causing traffic havoc but are also placing heavy pressure on small rural police forces in localities where such incidents take place.

Victor M. Manjarrez Jr., director of the Center for Law & Human Behavior at the University of Texas at El Paso, told the outlet that these drivers are often told, "If you're caught, it'll go bad for you." Manjarrez also said these drivers are scared and lack experience, which is a recipe for disaster.

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Representational Image dpa / Thorsten Wagner