At least 10 people were injured early Sunday when a vehicle crashed into eight people waiting at a bus stop in a Texas border town, officials said.
The victims, believed to be immigrants, were at a stop near a Catholic Charities facility in Brownsville called the Ozanam Center, a senior law enforcement official said.
After the accident, around 8:30 am, seven deaths were reported. On Sunday evening, Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said one more person had died.
“There are many more important ones,” Mendez said A statement on Facebook.
Initially, the senior law enforcement officer said, authorities believed it was a deliberate act. The official later said it was not clear whether it was deliberate and that the motive was under investigation.
Brownsville Lt. Martin Sandoval echoed that in an interview, saying police are also investigating whether the driver was intoxicated or caused the crash.
But the driver, a Hispanic male, was uncooperative with investigators, Sandoval said.
“He’s given us several names,” Sandoval said, adding that authorities are awaiting a fingerprint match, which they hope will positively identify the driver accused of reckless driving.
Additional fees are likely to be charged, Sandoval said. The FBI is assisting Brownsville police in the investigation, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the incident, the Justice Department said.
11 people were injured in the 8:30 am accident and were admitted to local hospitals Brownsville Fire Department He said on his official Facebook page The previous Sunday.
One injured person was airlifted to Valley Baptist Medical Center in nearby Harlingen, the fire department said. It was not immediately clear if the man was one of the original 11 abductees or a 12th.
said a migrant from Venezuela who had been staying at the Ozanam center for three days Brownsville’s NBC affiliate KVEO That he was almost beaten.
“We were waiting there and the truck sped through the traffic light and by the grace of God nothing happened to us but they attacked other people around us,” the man, who gave his name as Jesus, told the station.
Brownsville is one of the border cities seeing a surge of migrants trying to enter the United States from Mexico before the Title 42 immigration program expires Thursday.
The Covid ban, imposed in the last year of the Trump administration, has sent migrants back to Mexico more than 2.5 million times since it took effect in March 2020.
Mayor Mendez said Sunday afternoon that it was unclear what happened.
“As we continue to receive information about today’s tragic incident, we have yet to receive evidence that this was a deliberate act,” the mayor said.
Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said the Ozanam Center has overnight migrants. He said there had been no direct threats regarding the border crisis in recent weeks.
“It’s really unfortunate that this tragic thing happened,” Pimentel said. “It should draw all the attention to immigrants and those who are against them.”
Migrants “do not deserve to face this sad reality,” Pimentel said.