Eight are dead and 10 injured in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, after a driver ran over a group of pedestrians Sunday morning, police said.
According to law enforcement, the incident occurred at around 8:30 a.m. at a bus stop across the street from Ozanam Center, a homeless and migrant shelter. Seven people hit “were dead on the spot,” an investigator with the Brownsville Police Department said. One person died later, the department said on Sunday night.
Most of the victims were Venezuelan men, according to the shelter’s director, Victor Maldonado, who said he reviewed security footage from Ozanam Center after getting 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 away and just went through the people who were sitting there in the bus stop,” Maldonado told ValleyCentral.
One victim, Luis Herrera, said he and his friends were sitting on the curb waiting to go to the airport when the car came barreling into the group.
“We were going to the airport and it happened unexpectedly because a woman in a car passed by and advised us to separate and moments later the killer was coming in the car gesturing and insulting us,” Herrera said.
Maldonado said “bodies just started going everywhere, all directions,” when the car slammed into the group of around 20 people, according to the The New York Times.
CCTV video from a nearby snack bar shows the vehicle flip when it hits the curb after crashing into several people on the sidewalk.
The number those injured rose to at least 10 from six Sunday morning. Brownsville Police spokesman Martin Sandoval said it may continue to rise as law enforcement learns more about the crash and its victims.
“There might be more possibly coming in, because we have learned that several of the people that were injured have been transported to several hospitals throughout the valley,” he said. “So those numbers will be rising.”
Eyder Hernandez said he and others detained the driver as he tried to flee the scene. Another man told the Times that the driver shouted anti-immigrant insults at the group as he tried to get away.
Sandoval said the driver was arrested on reckless driving charges, with more likely to be filed. He also said that the driver’s identity hasn’t been verified yet, as the driver has given several different names to law enforcement and been uncooperative.
Police ordered a warrant for the driver’s blood to establish if he was intoxicated, Sandoval added. He said the man, believed to be in his 30s or 40s, had spoken to officers in both English and Spanish.
Despite previous reporting that stated Sandoval indicated the crash was intentional, he clarified that a cause and potential motive are still unknown.
“Now, we don’t know the actual cause of the accident. Like I said, it could be three different things. One, he could be intoxication. Two, it could be just an accidental one or three, it could be intentional,” Sandoval said.