The man who crashed an SUV into a group of migrants at a bus stop in the Texas border city of Brownsville has been charged with eight counts of manslaughter, police said Monday, describing the driver as a local with «extensive criminal record sheet».
The driver, identified by authorities as 34-year-old George Alvarez, killed eight people and injured at least 10 when he crashed into a crowd early Sunday, authorities said.
The victims were waiting at a bus stop near a Catholic Charities facility in Brownsville known as the Ozanam Center, a senior law enforcement official said.
Brownsville Police Department Chief Felix Sauceda said authorities are investigating the incident and Alvarez’s motive remains unclear. He said authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the accident was intentional.
Authorities are awaiting the results of a formal toxicology report to see if he was drunk at the time of the accident.
Sauceda told reporters at a news conference Monday that Álvarez ran a red light and apparently lost control of his vehicle, which flipped over, hitting 18 people.
Six people died on the spot and 12 were seriously injured. The number of deaths later rose to eight, the police chief said.
Álvarez tried to flee the scene, but people «held» him until authorities arrived, Sauceda said. He has not cooperated with officials investigating the incident, the chief added.
Alvarez’s criminal record includes two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of assault against an elderly or disabled person, four counts of assault causing bodily injury to a family member and at least 11 other counts, according to the information on a poster. displayed at the press conference.
Brownsville is one of the border cities already seeing a surge in immigrants trying to cross into the United States from Mexico before Title 42 immigration law expires Thursday.
The pandemic-era ban, imposed in the last year of the Trump administration, has sent migrants back to Mexico more than 2.5 million times since it went into effect in March 2020.
Title 42 removed immigrants immediately, without allowing asylum hearings. It did not impose penalties for repeated attempts to cross the border, and recidivism grew under the law.
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Susana Gamboa contributed.