Eight people are now dead after an SUV plowed into a gathering of people waiting for a bus outside a migrant shelter in Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday. Police reported that at least ten other people were hurt while they got ready to detain the hospitalized driver.
Some of the victims were sitting on the curb at the unidentified city bus stop since there was no bench there around 8:30 a.m. when the car struck them, according to CCTV footage from the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center. Martin Sandoval, a Brownsville police investigator, verified the most recent death on Sunday night and stated that authorities did not know whether the crash was deliberate.
The SUV raced up the curb, flipped, and continued to move for about 200 feet (60 meters), according to Victor Maldonado, director of the shelter. Maldonado claimed that some pedestrians strolling on the sidewalk about 30 feet (9 meters) from the leading group were also struck. He claimed that while the driver attempted to flee, witnesses caught him and held him until the police arrived.
According to Maldonado, who saw the security footage from the shelter, “This SUV, a Range Rover, just ran the light about 100 feet (30 meters) away and just went through the people sitting there in the bus stop.” After spending the night at the overnight shelter, the victims hit by the car were waiting for the bus to take them back to downtown Brownsville, according to Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
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According to Maldonado, most of the victims were guys from Venezuela. For unknown reasons, there has been an increase in Venezuelan migrants in Brownsville during the past two weeks, according to police. Of the 6,000 or so migrants held by Border Patrol in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, 4,000 were Venezuelan.
According to Sandoval, the driver was taken to the hospital to treat injuries sustained when the automobile overturned. According to Sandoval, the car had no occupants, and the name and age of the driver were not immediately known to the police. According to Sandoval, three scenarios could account for the incident: intoxication, an accident, or purposeful contact. We need to rule out the other two to determine precisely what happened.
He’s being very uncooperative at the hospital, but as soon as he’s discharged, he’ll be taken to our city jail, according to Sandoval. “After taking his fingerprints and mug shot, we can determine his true identity.” A blood sample was taken by the police and forwarded to a lab run by the Texas Department of Public Safety to be tested for intoxicants.
At a special meeting on Thursday, Brownsville commissioners decided to prolong the emergency declaration indefinitely due to the recent spike in migrant numbers. After the collision, Pedro Cardenas, a city commissioner, remarked, “We don’t want them wandering around outside.” Therefore, we are working to ensure that they are as comfortable as possible so they won’t need to leave and look for somewhere else.
Brownsville has historically been a hub for migration across the border between the United States and Mexico. It has emerged as a prominent area of interest for next week’s expiration of Title 42 border limitations from the epidemic era. The Ozanam shelter oversees the release of thousands of migrants from federal custody and is the sole overnight refuge in the city.
Before the collision, no threats were received by the center, but they were following, according to Maldonado. Maldonado said, “I’ve had a few folks come by the gate and inform the security guard that this happened due to us. In the last three days, Cardenas estimated that 2,500 migrants have been entering Brownsville over the river daily.
According to him, the Border Patrol is aware of the city’s 1,000 capacity at its processing facility at the border crossing and a downtown building where volunteers and city staff assist migrants in obtaining bus or airplane tickets to their final destinations. According to Cardenas, the city is considering increasing its services to meet demand shortly.
The city’s emergency management chief stated that although 80% of those freed from federal detention leave the same day, a backlog has developed over the past few days. According to Cardenas, most of those crossing the border don’t want to stay in Brownsville, but there aren’t enough buses to purchase a ticket to depart. “Some are anticipating family,”
Although the Ozanam shelter has a capacity of 250, many visitors depart on the same day. The city recently declared an emergency as local, state, and federal resources coordinated enforcement and humanitarian assistance in response to increased border crossings. “In the last two months, we’ve been getting 250 to 380 a day,” Maldonado claimed.
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Migrants use the city’s public transportation and the vehicle provided by the shelter throughout the week. In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Rochelle Garza, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, said: “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.”
Vicente González, a U.S. Representative, stated on Sunday that local authorities and the federal government are in touch over the tragedy. He said we are all incredibly saddened and heartbroken by this tragedy in our community.
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