Seven people were killed and at least 10 were injured when an SUV slammed into a crowd at a city bus stop near a shelter for migrants in Brownsville, Texas, police said Sunday.
Brownsville police investigator Martin Sandoval said the crash happened at about 8:30 a.m. and authorities are looking into whether it was intentional or an accident.
“It can be three factors,” Sandoval said. “It could be intoxication; it could be an accident; or it could be intentional. In order for us to find out exactly what happened, we have to eliminate the other two.”
Sandoval told valleycentral.com the driver was arrested on a charge of reckless driving and that more charges will likely be filed. The local media outlet said the crash occurred in front of the Ozanam Center, a shelter for migrants and homeless people across the street from the bus stop.
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 has provided several different names, Sandoval said.
∙ Raúl Brindis, a Mexican radio show host, tweeted that authorities were working to confirm how many of the victims are migrants.
∙ Brindis said bystanders helped stop the driver, who was being tested for drugs and alcohol.
Surveillance video shows crash
Shelter director Victor Maldonado reviewed the shelter’s surveillance video and said people, mostly Venezuelan men, were sitting on the curb waiting for the bus.
“What we see in the video is that this SUV, a Range Rover, just ran the light that was about a hundred feet away and just went through the people who were sitting there in the bus stop,” Maldonado said. He said the SUV flipped after running up on the curb and continued moving for about 200 feet, also hitting people on the sidewalk about 30 feet away from the main group.
Luis Herrera told Valley Central he and his friends were waiting to go to the airport when they were struck by the SUV, driven by a man who gestured at and insulted them.
Brownsville, the easternmost border crossing into Mexico, issued a disaster declaration last month after 15,000 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, crossed over in a single week, overwhelming border security. In a normal week about 2,000 migrants attempt to cross at Brownsville, officials say.
“We’ve never seen these numbers before,” Sandoval said last week.
The surge in migrants comes as Title 42 is set to end Thursday. The pandemic-era policy allows the U.S. Border Patrol to send asylum-seekers from certain countries back to Mexico, and its expiration is expected to further increase the flow of immigrants.
At a special meeting Thursday, Brownsville commissioners indefinitely extended the emergency declaration.
“We don’t want them wandering around outside,” Pedro Cardenas, a city commissioner, said of the migrants Sunday after the crash. “So we’re trying to make sure they’re as comfortable as they can be so they don’t have to go out and look for anywhere else.”
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Contributing: The Associated Press