OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
11:41 AM – Monday, May 8, 2023
Authorities have identified George Alvarez as the driver suspected of ramming an SUV into a crowd of pedestrians at a bus stop outside of a migrant center in Brownsville, Texas on Sunday.
In a news conference, Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda said that the 34-year-old had run a red light, and lost control of his Land Rover, which rolled on to its side, before plowing over 18 people outside the Brownsville Ozanam Center. Out of the 18, eight of them were killed.
According to the shelter’s director, roughly 20 to 25 refugees were waiting on the sidewalk when police first learned of the collision at around 8:30 a.m. local time.
Alvarez has been legally charged and arraigned on eight charges of manslaughter, as well as ten counts of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon. According to the police, he has a lengthy criminal history.
In the early phases of the inquiry, he had already been charged prior with careless driving.
According to the chief, Alvarez was granted bonds for $3.6 million and toxicology findings were mandated to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A video taken during the accident, police have said, is under review.
“The video is part of a separate incident investigation but related to the accident,” Sandoval said. “We are looking at what the DA can formulate from the video to see if they have enough to potentially face charges. We are looking at it three different ways. One, to see if he was intoxicated. We took a blood sample and have to turn it over to the Texas DPS crime lab. Two, we have to look at it as a malfunction of the car. Or three it could be intentional. All of these are possibilities.”
The suspect allegedly tried to flee the collision site impaired while yelling obscenities, but was eventually restrained by numerous individuals who were witnesses to the accident.
Sauceda also stated that all victims were males and from Venezuela.
Authorities have said that they are currently looking into whether the conduct was deliberate. Memorials have been set up at the crash location to honor the victims.
The deadly incident comes as border communities like Brownsville are reportedly preparing for an influx of migrants when Title 42, a public health emergency provision, expires on Thursday.
In anticipation of Title 42’s expiration, United States Customs and Border Protection officers have already seen an increase in migrants at the border with Mexico.
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