For a group of recently arrived migrants who had spent the night at a shelter in the border city of Brownsville, Texas, after an exhausting journey north, it must have felt like a rare moment of serenity. Then, on Sunday morning, as they were milling about outside, a gray SUV sped through a red light, overturned, and crashed through the gathering in front of the shelter, killing eight people and wounding ten more.
Manslaughter and other accusations have been brought against the driver after his detention. The hospital is still caring for several of the victims. Authorities are still looking into whether the motorist purposefully plowed into the gathering.
What is known as follows.
What took place?
On Sunday, the incident began to take place at about 8:29 a.m. The Ozanam Center, a homeless facility that frequently houses migrants who cross the border from Mexico, was the scene of many reports of a car crash, according to the Brownsville police.
The majority of the individuals gathered outside, who were standing near a bus stop, were men from Venezuela, according to witnesses who recounted a gray Range Rover speeding through a red light, losing control, flipping on its side, and slamming into the group.
When the police came, they discovered a horrific scene. Six of the victims hit by the automobile died at the scene, and two more died later at the hospital, according to Chief Felix Sauceda of the Brownsville Police Department. Ten additional people were seriously hurt.
The driver, who was he?
The driver was recognized by the authorities as Brownsville resident George Alvarez, 34. Mr. Alvarez has already dealt with the police. Chief Sauceda claimed that he had previously been detained multiple times, including on suspicion of burglary, violence, theft, and drunken driving.
Mr. Alvarez has declined to assist the police in their investigation. He has given the police many different identities and has resisted having his fingerprints or breathalyzer taken.
According to an official briefed on the investigation, a preliminary toxicology analysis revealed that Mr. Alvarez had cocaine, benzodiazepines, and marijuana in his system at the time of the incident. But before they establish a motive or what function the drugs may have had in the collision, the police are awaiting the findings of more toxicology investigations.
Additionally, Mr. Alvarez was at the center of an earlier exoneration case that garnered headlines. According to court records, Mr. Alvarez claimed in legal documents that he was imprisoned for four years after being wrongly accused of assault by a jail officer.
Mr. Alvarez was detained in November 2005 when he was 17 years old on suspicion of breaking into a car. A guard accused him of assault after he was transferred to a nearby jail, and he was sentenced to four years in prison as punishment. According to court documents, Mr. Alvarez was eventually released after a video revealed that he had not attacked the security guard.
Sergio Galvan, Mr. Alvarez’s current defense attorney, told the San Antonio Express-News that his client has six kids and works for an industrial sandblasting company.
The tweet below confirms the news:
A horrific scene played out in Brownsville, Texas, as an SUV plowed into a group of migrants standing near a bus stop. The driver has been arrested and charged with manslaughter. Most of the victims were men from Venezuela, immigration activists said. https://t.co/RXgXgs87U9
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 9, 2023
Was it planned?
The police were looking into claims that Mr. Alvarez had hurled anti-immigration epithets at the group he struck, most of whom had come to Brownsville to seek asylum, in the days following the fatal accident.
If detectives find that the crash was intentional, more criminal charges might be filed, Chief Sauceda said. A number of migrants were shown on video pinning down Mr. Alvarez after he attempted to flee the scene of the car accident.
What fees are involved?
Police accused Mr. Alvarez of reckless driving, ten counts of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, and eight counts of manslaughter. On Monday, Mr. Alvarez, who is being detained in a jail in Brownsville, appeared before a judge in a criminal court who set a $3.6 million bond.
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Who are the sufferers?
The eight victims’ identities have not been made public by the authorities. Immigration activists claimed that the majority of them were males from Venezuela in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
In recent days, many migrants have started coming to Brownsville and other border cities in anticipation of the repeal of Title 42, a policy that the Trump administration implemented in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic to make it easier to deport immigrants who crossed the border.
This week marks the expected expiration of Title 42, which has come to be considered a significant barrier to receiving asylum in the United States. Venezuelans have been fleeing their home country in recent years in a desperate attempt to escape poverty and oppression at the hands of the government.
For the purpose of locating victims and reuniting them with loved ones, the Brownsville authorities have been collaborating with Venezuelan consulate representatives. According to the police, three migrants had been discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, while seven migrants were still in the hospital.
What did they observe?
As the SUV accelerated at them, witnesses described a scene of utter chaos and despair. Yohonny Miratriz, 38, who departed Venezuela in March and is now traveling to Garland, Texas, said the incident occurred as he and two friends were walking to a bus stop outside a shelter where they were sleeping.
The road under him began to quake after he heard an audible roar. Time seemed to slow down as he turned around to find the car already on its side and heading in their direction.
“I had time to think, do I jump forward or backward?” Mr. Miratriz recalled. “Which way would give me a better chance at survival?” He decided to dive head first and felt the sharp sting of the truck’s nose strike his left leg. “At first it didn’t hurt. I was in shock, but then the pain came rushing.”
In his 30s, Luis Matute, a close buddy, perished in the collision. Another, Johan Quiroz, 40, was rushed to a hospital with serious injuries and was claimed to be making a full recovery.
“How did I get by? I believe that only God is aware.
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