A driver ploughed into a group of people waiting at a bus stop outside a migrant shelter in the US state of Texas, killing at least eight people, including several immigrants and injuring many, authorities said.
The incident occurred on Sunday at the bus stop near the Ozanam Center, a shelter for migrants, Brownsville Police investigator Lt. Martin Sandoval said.
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Brownsville police confirmed 8 people dead. Seven were killed on the spot and one succumbed to the injuries later.
The victims were waiting at a bus stop when they were run over. Majority of these victims were immigrants and were waiting for a bus to take them to the bus station or airport, to get to their final destination, Sandoval said.
"This is something that is extraordinary. We have never seen something like this," Director of the Ozanam Center Victor Maldonado said.
Brownsville police say the driver, a Hispanic male and a resident of Brownsville, is now in jail.
Sandoval said he is facing a charge of reckless driving, but more charges are possible as the investigation continues. Toxicology results are also pending.
"I know there is a report out there, they are saying that it was intentional. Brownsville police are saying this was an intentional accident. Well, I'm here to clarify that Brownsville police have never taken the stand that this was an intentional accident. It is a factor that we have to look at," Sandoval said.
10 undergoing treatment after the tragedy
Ten people are being treated in hospitals in Brownsville, Harlingen and McAllen with their injuries ranging from minor to major.
As the crash involves migrants who were processed by Border Patrol, the FBI will be assisting Brownsville police as needed in the investigation.
Sandoval said authorities are still investigating whether the crash was intentional or accidental. He said witnesses described seeing the driver ignore a red light, drive up on a curb and run over a group of people waiting at the bus stop.
The shelter has been housing immigrants while they wait for more permanent housing, he said.
Brownsville is located on the southern tip of Texas, just across the Rio Grande River.
The crash happened just days before a Trump-era immigration restriction dubbed Title 42 is set to expire. The pandemic-era policy allowed immigration agents to swiftly return migrants to their home countries. Officials have predicted a rise in immigration in the coming weeks when the restrictions are lifted Thursday, CNN reported.
Victor Maldonado, the director of the Ozanam Center, told CNN that about 20 to 25 migrants were sitting on the curb waiting for a bus across the street from the shelter. He said surveillance video captured the deadly wreck with footage showing a vehicle driving very quickly, crashing about 30 feet from where the migrants were sitting and then losing control.
Police took Maldonado's copy of the surveillance video, he said.
The migrants were from Venezuela and had arrived at the shelter about two or three days ago, Maldonado said.
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