Tragic Accident at Bus Stop Claims Eight Lives in Texas Border City

Tragic SUV Accident at Texas Border City Bus Stop: Eight Lives Lost and Several Injured

BROWNSVILLE, Texas β€” A shocking incident occurred on Sunday morning when an SUV driver lost control and plowed into a group of people waiting for a bus near a migrant shelter in Brownsville, Texas. The horrific accident resulted in eight fatalities and at least 10 injured individuals, according to local authorities.

The scene of the tragedy took place at an unmarked city bus stop where the victims were sitting on the curb, as there was no bench available. Surveillance footage from the nearby Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center captured the devastating moment when the SUV hit the crowd at around 8:30 a.m. Martin Sandoval, a Brownsville police investigator, confirmed the latest casualty figures on Sunday evening, adding that the authorities have yet to determine whether the collision was intentional.

According to shelter director Victor Maldonado, the SUV drove onto the curb, flipped, and continued to move for about 200 feet (60 meters), hitting additional pedestrians on the sidewalk approximately 30 feet (9 meters) away from the primary group. Bystanders managed to detain the driver as he attempted to flee the scene and held him until the police arrived.

Maldonado, who reviewed the shelter’s surveillance video, recounted the chilling events, stating, “This SUV, a Range Rover, just ran the light that was about 100 feet (30 meters) away and just went through the people who were sitting there in the bus stop.” The victims had spent the night at the overnight shelter and were waiting for the bus to return to downtown Brownsville, explained Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

The majority of the victims were Venezuelan men, Maldonado noted, adding that Brownsville has recently experienced an influx of Venezuelan migrants for reasons that remain unclear. Authorities reported that on Thursday, 4,000 of the approximately 6,000 migrants held in Border Patrol custody in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley were Venezuelan nationals.

Following the accident, the SUV driver was hospitalized for injuries sustained during the rollover. Sandoval said there were no passengers in the car and the driver’s name or age remained unknown as of Sunday afternoon.

In terms of the crash, Sandoval mentioned three possible explanations: “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.” He added that the driver has been uncooperative at the hospital, but will be taken to city jail as soon as he is released, where he will be fingerprinted, photographed, and his true identity determined.

A blood sample was taken from the driver and sent to a Texas Department of Public Safety lab for intoxicant testing.

Brownsville’s recent surge in migrant arrivals prompted city commissioners to extend a declaration of emergency indefinitely during a special meeting on Thursday. Pedro Cardenas, a city commissioner, said after the crash on Sunday, “We don’t want them wandering around outside. 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.”

Brownsville has long been a focal point for migration across the U.S.-Mexico border, and it is now a key area of interest as pandemic-era border restrictions known as Title 42 are set to end next week. The Ozanam shelter is the only overnight facility in the city, managing the release of thousands of migrants from federal custody.

Maldonado revealed that the center had not received any threats before the crash, but did so afterward. He said, “I’ve had a couple of people come by the gate and tell the security guard that the reason this happened was because of us.”

In recent days, about 2,500 migrants have been crossing the river into Brownsville daily, according to Cardenas. He mentioned that the Border Patrol is aware of the city’s processing capacity of 1,000 at their area near the crossing point and a downtown building where city employees and volunteers guide migrants on how to purchase bus or plane tickets to their final destinations. The city is considering expanding services to accommodate the growing needs in the coming days, Cardenas added.

While 80% of individuals released from federal custody leave the same day, a bottleneck has formed over the past few days, said the city’s emergency management official. Cardenas explained, “Most of the people coming across don’t want to stay in Brownsville, but we don’t have enough buses for them to buy their ticket to leave. Some are waiting for family members.”

The Ozanam shelter can hold up to 250 people, but many who arrive leave the same day. Over the past several weeks, an uptick in border crossings has prompted the city to declare an emergency as local, state, and federal resources coordinate enforcement and humanitarian response efforts.

“In the last two months, we’ve been getting 250 to 380 a day,” Maldonado said.

While the shelter provides transportation for migrants during the week, they also utilize the city’s public transportation system.

Rochelle Garza, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, issued a statement on Sunday afternoon, saying, “I hope that today serves as a wake-up call, and that state officials will begin investing in a humanitarian response that might have helped the people who were impacted by this morning’s tragedy.”

U.S. Rep. Vicente GonzΓ‘lez expressed his condolences on Sunday, stating that local officials are in communication with the federal government regarding the crash. “We are all extremely sad and heartbroken to have such a tragedy in our neighborhood,” he said.

With information from AP News.

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