Driver Following Sat-Nav Ends Up in the Middle of a Mexican Gang War, Shot at 16 Times

The man was shot at 16 times 19 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/
New Apple Maps experience on CarPlayNew Apple Maps experience on CarPlayNew Apple Maps experience on CarPlayNew Apple Maps experience on CarPlayThe new Google Maps UIThe new Google Maps UIThe new Google Maps UIThe new Google Maps colors with the impossible-to-track suggested routeThe fixed Google Maps versionThe new Google Maps UI in dark mode on CarPlayThe new Google Maps UI in dark mode on CarPlayGoogle Maps speed limit infoWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlay
Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, and pretty much any sat-nav solution are supposed to make every second you spend behind the wheel safer by making the road more predictable. However, these apps don't take into account the other side of the "safety" bit: what happens beyond traffic.
An Arizona man recently figured this out in a painful way, both literally and figuratively.

Craig Ricketts was on his way to meet his son for Christmas when he used GPS navigation to cross the border from Mexico to the United States using the Lukeville checkpoint.

Because it was closed, the man turned to the sat-nav software on the dashboard to look for an alternative, and the suggestion didn't have any red flags at first. The driver was sent to the Sasabe border, a hot region that even the Department of State says you should avoid.

The region that includes the Sonora Desert is often the war of Mexican smuggling gangs who want to control the land for obvious reasons. However, they're often involved in violent conflicts, with families in the region forced to flee due to the occasional shootouts.

Without having a clue that the Sasabe border is a dangerous location, Craig Rickets followed the sat-nav's indications, driving towards the checkpoint.

Out of nowhere, somebody started shooting at him, with two bullets hitting him in the arm and the left leg. He was shot at 16 times, so his Chevrolet Suburban was riddled with bullet holes. The man survived and ended up in a hospital in Tucson.

Authorities in multiple regions have previously asked navigation software developers to provide additional context on certain routes suggested to users, especially when drivers are sent through hot points known as dangerous and posing various risks. However, such warnings are yet to be integrated into navigation applications, so the best drivers can do is to do their homework before they begin the journey.

It's not the most convenient solution to a problem that can be easily addressed with a software update. When you're driving, and the sat-nav software suggests a new route, you can't pull over and search the web to determine whether a destination is safe. However, not spending a minute or two for such information can have serious consequences, as drivers typically trust their navigation apps blindly, following every direction shown on the screen.

Ricketts was lucky, escaping with non-life-threatening injuries, but the Attorney General's Office in Sonora says it wasn't the only victim involved in a gang war in the region. Last month, another driver was caught in the fire between the rival gangs in Sonora, so if you can use another checkpoint, you'd better avoid the region at all costs when crossing the border.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories