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Driver charged with manslaughter after running red light and killing eight pedestrians in Brownsville

By Jayme Lozano Carver, The Texas Tribune

Driver charged with manslaughter after running red light and killing eight pedestrians in Brownsville” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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The driver who crashed into a bus stop outside a Brownsville migrant center Sunday morning, killing 8 people and injuring 10 more, has been charged with manslaughter, though police are still investigating whether he intentionally drove into the crowd.

Brownsville police Chief Felix Sauceda said at a press conference Monday that George Alvarez, 34, of Brownsville ran a red light and lost control of his vehicle in front of the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center. Sauceda said Alvarez attempted to flee but was held down by several individuals on the scene until police arrived.

Sauceda said investigators have not yet received toxicology reports to determine whether drugs or alcohol were a factor. At the press conference, police said Alvarez had an extensive criminal history including six previous assault charges against an elderly person, a family member and a public servant.

Alvarez is facing eight manslaughter charges and 10 charges of assault with a deadly weapon. He is in custody.

Surveillance video of the crash posted online showed a line of more than a dozen people sitting or standing along the sidewalk at the bus stop. An SUV traveling at a high rate of speed plowed into the middle of the group, knocking people far back into the grass and onto a driveway. The SUV then flipped, rolled and skidded out of the frame.

News footage from the scene showed that the SUV, a gray Range Rover, came to a stop in the middle of the road with considerable damage to its front and side. Clothes, shoes and debris were scattered on the road and the sidewalk as police collected evidence.

There has been speculation on social media that Alvarez drove into the crowd intentionally, as the crash happened while border cities like Brownsville are facing an increase in immigrants with the end of the Title 42 immigration policy expected this week. Last week, the city of Brownsville extended a local disaster declaration in response.

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