BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The driver in a deadly crash that killed 8 people in Brownsville, Texas, has been charged with manslaughter, police said Monday.
Authorities believe driver George Alvarez, 34, lost control after running a red light Sunday morning and plowed into a crowd of Venezuelans outside a migrant center.
The police chief said Alvarez was charged with eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Shelter director Victor Maldonado said the SUV ran up the curb, flipped and continued moving for about 200 feet (60 meters). Some people walking on the sidewalk about 30 feet (9 meters) from the main group were also hit, Maldonado said. Witnesses detained the driver as he tried to run away and held him until police arrived, he said.
Before the collision, the Range Rover ran a traffic light about 100 feet (30 meters) away, said Maldonado, who reviewed the shelter's surveillance video.
Victims struck by the vehicle were waiting for the bus to return to downtown Brownsville after spending the night at the overnight shelter, said Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
Most of the victims were Venezuelan men, Maldonado said. Brownsville has seen a surge of Venezuelan migrants over the last two weeks for unclear reasons, authorities said. On Thursday, 4,000 of about 6,000 migrants in Border Patrol custody in Texas' Rio Grande Valley were Venezuelan.
The driver was taken to the hospital for injuries sustained when the SUV rolled over, Sandoval said. There were no passengers in the SUV, Sandoval said Sunday afternoon.
Police retrieved a blood sample and sent it to a Texas Department of Public Safety lab to test for intoxicants.