(CTN News) – Police in Brownsville, Texas, say they have charged the driver of the SUV that crashed into a crowd at a bus stop, killing eight people.
In connection with the accident, officers have charged the driver with manslaughter.
There is no doubt that the driver, George Alvarez, 34, of Brownsville, lost control after running a red light Sunday morning, causing him to plough into a crowd of Venezuelans outside a migrant center.
The crash remains under investigation by the authorities and it is not yet known whether it was an intentional one.
Alvarez was charged with eight counts of manslaughter and ten counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as a result of the manslaughter, according to the chief of police Felix Sauceda. As a result, Alvarez was issued bonds totaling $3.6 million by the court.
According to Sauceda, authorities are awaiting toxicology reports to determine whether or not Alvarez was intoxicated.
In a news conference on Monday morning, Sauceda said that the SUV crashed into 18 people after running a red light, losing control, flipping on its side and colliding with them.
The incident resulted in the death of six people on the scene as well as the critical injuries of 12 others, according to him. There has been a rise in the death toll in the following hours to eight, officials have said.
Alvarez says several Brownsville people on the scene held him down when he tried to flee. However, he could not flee.
In an interview with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley executive director Sister Norma Pimentel, who is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, one of the victims who was hit by the vehicle was waiting for the bus to return to downtown Brownsville after spending the night at the overnight shelter.
It appears that the majority of those who were killed were Venezuelan men, according to Victor Maldonado, the shelter’s director.
In the last two weeks, Brownsville has seen an uptick in Venezuelan migrants coming into the city for reasons that remain unclear, officials said.
In Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, about 6,000 migrants were taken into custody by the Border Patrol on Thursday, of whom 4,000 were Venezuelans.
In order to test for intoxicants, the Brownsville Texas Department of Public Safety collected a blood sample from the officer and sent it to a lab for analysis.