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Eight killed outside Brownsville migrant shelter after car crashes into pedestrians

By Sneha Dey and Jayme Lozano Carver, The Texas Tribune

Eight killed outside Brownsville migrant shelter after car crashes into pedestrians” 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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Eight people are dead after a car ran into pedestrians waiting at a bus stop outside a shelter for migrants in Brownsville, authorities say.

The crash happened at 8:30 a.m. Sunday across the street from the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center, Brownsville police Lt. Martin Sandoval told KRGV-TV.

Ten people injured at the scene were taken to a local hospital to treat injuries ranging from minor to serious. One of them later died Sandoval told CNN, increasing the death toll from seven to eight late Sunday.

Police have detained the driver, a Brownsville resident, who is facing at least one charge of reckless driving and also is being treated for injuries. It is unclear what led to the crash. Local police are investigating whether it was intentional or accidental, and are performing tests on the driver to check for drug and alcohol use. Authorities have not identified the driver.

Sandoval explained to KRGV that Brownsville police have not said the crash was intentional.

“Brownsville police have never taken the stance that this was an intentional act, but it is a factor we have to look at,” Sandoval said.

Shelter director Victor Maldonado told the Associated Press that the bus stop doesn’t have a bench, so people were sitting along the curb as they waited. Maldonado said most of the victims were Venezuelan men.

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 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.

The Ozanam Center is a shelter that serves individuals and families in need of emergency housing assistance, as well as providing a food pantry and case management services. The center, which was originally established by the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville to house Central American political refugees, has a maximum capacity of 200 people.

The center is on the edge of town and about 10 miles from the border. There is a five-lane road beside a tight sidewalk that wraps around the center and leads to another road that is only two lanes and doesn’t have a sidewalk at all.

With a public health order that allows the federal government to immediately expel migrants from the country set to expire Thursday, shelters across Texas-Mexico border have been preparing for an expected increase in people. On Thursday, the city of Brownsville extended a local disaster declaration to “proactively address the influx of [border] crossings and to support and alleviate the process and transfer of migrants in a humanitarian way.”

Immigrants rights advocacy group La Union del Pueblo Entero plans to hold a vigil for the victims of the incident at 10 a.m. Monday at the Ozanam Center.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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