8 dead, 10 injured; Driver “uncooperative”
Eight people were killed and at least ten injured when an SUV crashed into a crowd at a city bus stop near a migrant shelter in Brownsville, Texas, authorities said on Sunday.
Brownsville Police Department Investigator Martin Sandoval said the accident happened around 8:30 a.m. and authorities are investigating whether it was intentional or an accident. “It can be three factors,” Sandoval said. “It could be poisoning; it could be an accident; or it could be on purpose. In order for us to find out exactly what happened, we need to eliminate the other two.”
Sandoval told valleycentral.com that the driver has been arrested for reckless driving and that further charges are likely to be faced. The local media outlet said the crash happened in front of the Ozanam Center, a shelter for migrants and homeless people across from the bus station.
The male driver, who was the only person in the SUV, was hospitalized for injuries sustained when the vehicle rolled over, Sandoval said, calling him “very uncooperative”. Authorities have not released his name or age because he had given several different names, Sandoval said.
∙ Raúl Brindis, a Mexican radio host, tweeted that authorities are working to confirm how many of the victims are migrants.
∙ Brindis said passers-by helped stop the driver, who was tested for drugs and alcohol.
Surveillance video shows crash
The shelter’s director, Victor Maldonado, checked the shelter’s surveillance video and said people, mostly Venezuelan men, were sitting at the curb waiting for the bus.
“What we see in the video is this SUV, a Range Rover, just ran over the light about 30 meters away and just drove through the people who were sitting there at the bus stop,” Maldonado said. He said the SUV rolled over after hitting the curb and continued to move about 200 feet, also hitting people on the sidewalk about 30 feet from the main group.
Luis Herrera told Valley Central he and his friends were waiting to head to the airport when they were hit by the SUV, which was being driven by a man who looked at them and insulted them.
Brownsville has seen an influx of migrants in recent weeks
Brownsville, the easternmost border crossing into Mexico, issued a disaster declaration last month after 15,000 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, crossed the border in a single week, overwhelming border security. About 2,000 migrants attempt to cross Brownsville in a typical week, officials say.
“We’ve never seen those numbers before,” Sandoval said last week.
The surge in migrants comes as Title 42 is due to end on Thursday. Pandemic-era policies allow the US Border Protection Agency to send asylum-seekers back to Mexico from certain countries, and its expiry is expected to further increase the influx of immigrants.
At a special meeting Thursday, Brownsville commissioners extended the state of emergency indefinitely.
“We don’t want them walking around outside,” Pedro Cardenas, a city commissioner, said about the migrants Sunday after the crash. “So we’re trying to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible so they don’t have to go out and look elsewhere.”
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Contribution: The Associated Press