Police in the US state of Texas have said at least eight people were killed and 10 injured after a car ploughed into a group of pedestrians waiting for a bus near a shelter for refugees, migrants and homeless people.
Authorities say a silver-grey SUV in the border town of Brownsville ran a red light on Sunday and mounted onto the side of the road where the people were waiting.
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Victor Maldonado, the director of the Ozanam Center, said he reviewed the shelter’s surveillance video after receiving a call about the crash.
“What we see in the video is that this SUV, a Range Rover, just ran the light that was about 100 feet [30 metres] away and just went through the people who were sitting there in the bus stop,” Maldonado said.
Police arrested the driver – identified as 34-year-old George Alvarez – and charged him on Monday with eight counts of manslaughter, among other charges.
“It can be three factors,” Brownsville police investigator Martin Sandoval said earlier. “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.”
The bus stop is across the street from the shelter and had no bench so some people were sitting along the side of the road, Maldonado said.
He said the SUV turned over after hitting the side of the road and continued moving for about 60 metres (200ft). Some people walking on the pavement were also hit, he added.
The driver was taken to hospital for injuries sustained when the car rolled over, Sandoval said.
Brownsville has long been an epicentre for migration into the United States and has become a major point of interest ahead of the May 11 end of pandemic-era border restrictions known as Title 42. It lies just across the border from Matamoros, one of Mexico’s most dangerous cities.
The Ozanam shelter is the only overnight shelter in Brownsville and manages the release of thousands of refugees and migrants from federal custody.
Maldonado said the centre had not received any threats before the crash, but they did afterwards.
“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,” Maldonado said.
The shelter can hold as many as 250 people, but many arrive and leave on the same day. In the last few weeks, there has been an increase in border crossings.
“In the last two months, we’ve been getting 250 to 380 a day,” Maldonado said.