A driver in Brownsville, Texas, ran over a group of pedestrians waiting at a bus stop near a migrant shelter on Sunday morning, killing eight people and injuring nine others, authorities said.Embed from Getty Images
The incident occurred at around 8:30 a.m. local time outside the Ozanam Center, a shelter that provides temporary housing and other services to migrants and homeless people. Among the dead and injured were migrants who had recently crossed the border from Mexico, officials said.
The driver of the Land Rover, whose identity has not been released, was arrested at the scene and taken to a hospital for treatment. He is under 24-hour guard watch and expected to face criminal charges, at least for reckless driving. Police said they are conducting tests to check for alcohol and drug use and investigating the motive behind the crash.
Witnesses told police that the driver appeared to intentionally steer his vehicle into the crowd of people standing on the sidewalk. Some of the witnesses helped the victims and detained the driver until police arrived.
Martin Sandoval, a spokesperson for the Brownsville Police Department, said the crash was “a major accident” that shocked the community.
“We’re still trying to figure out what happened,” he told CBS News. “We don’t know if it was an accident or intentional.”
He said the victims were taken to nearby hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to major. He did not provide any details about their identities or nationalities.
The Ozanam Center is run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, a nonprofit organization that assists migrants and refugees in the region. The center offers shelter, food, clothing, medical care and legal services to those in need.Embed from Getty Images
The incident comes amid a surge of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, many of them fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 1.6 million migrants have been encountered at the border in fiscal year 2021, which began in October.
The Biden administration has faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for its handling of the border situation. The administration has said it is working to address the root causes of migration and improve the conditions at border facilities.