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Driver whose SUV hit and killed migrants in Texas is charged

A day after an SUV rammed into a group of migrants in Brownsville, Texas, killing eight people, police officials identified the man behind the wheel as George Alvarez and said they were still trying to determine if the accident was intentional.

Alvarez has been charged with eight counts of manslaughter, 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and reckless driving, and remains behind bars, Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda said Monday. .

Mr Alvarez was seen on video pinned to the ground by a group of people outside a homeless shelter which housed migrants, most of them from Venezuela, after trying to flee the scene of the crash . His gray Range Rover SUV hit around 20 people near a bus stop.

Chief Sauceda said police are investigating reports that Mr. Alvarez shouted anti-immigration epithets at the group. Other criminal charges could be added, he said, if investigators determine the crash was deliberate.

Police said they received information about the accident around 8.29am on Sunday and discovered a horrific scene when officers arrived. At least six people were already dead and four others were seriously injured and writhing in pain. Two of the injured later died, Chief Sauceda said.

Investigators said Mr. Alvarez ran a red light and appeared to lose control of his vehicle, which flipped onto its side and hit at least 18 people, most of them men, Chief Sauceda said . He called it a “very tragic scene”.

Authorities in Brownsville were working with the Venezuelan consulate to identify the victims and reunite them with their loved ones, he said.

Mr. Alvarez is a Brownsville resident who has long been known to local authorities, Chief Sauceda said, adding that Mr. Alvarez has a record of numerous arrests for drunk driving, burglary of a vehicle, assault and flight, among others. .

Police said they were still trying to determine on Monday whether Mr. Alvarez was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

The episode took place outside the Ozanam Center, a shelter where large numbers of migrants have arrived recently in anticipation of the end of Title 42, a rule imposed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic by the Trump administration. to facilitate the expulsion of migrants crossing the border. Title 42, which has become a major obstacle to seeking asylum in the United States, is due to expire this week.

Many Venezuelans have left their homeland and sought asylum to escape poverty and government oppression.

Mr. Alvarez, who spoke to investigators in English and Spanish, refused to cooperate with investigators, officials said. He gave police several different names and did not submit to a breath test or fingerprints, they said.


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