BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) – An eighth person has died after a driver ran over a group of people waiting at a bus stop in Brownsville, Texas on Sunday.
The victims were at a bus stop in front of the Ozanam Center, a shelter for migrants and homeless people in the Texas border city, at 8:30 a.m. when they were hit. The collision does not appear to have been accidental, police said.
Seven people died at the scene, Lt. Martin Sandoval said Sunday morning. An eighth person died Sunday evening, Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez confirmed to Nexstar’s KVEO.
Shelter director Victor Maldonado said he reviewed the shelter’s surveillance video on Sunday morning after receiving a call about the crash.
The city bus stop is across the street from the shelter and is not marked. There was no bench, and people waiting there were sitting along the curb, Maldonado said. He said most of the victims were Venezuelan men.
“What we see in the video is that this SUV, a Range Rover, just ran the light that was about a hundred feet away and just went through the people who were sitting there in the bus stop,” Maldonado said.
He said the SUV flipped after running up on the curb and continued moving for about 200 feet. Some people who were walking on the sidewalk about 30 feet away from the main group were also hit, Maldonado said.
In addition to those killed, Sandoval said 10 people were taken to area hospitals.
“There might be more possibly coming in, because we have learned that several of the people that were injured have been transported to several hospitals throughout the valley,” he said Sunday afternoon. “So those numbers will be rising.”
Sandoval said the driver was arrested and charged with reckless driving. The driver was also going to be tested for intoxication. Sandoval said more charges will likely be filed. Area residents detained the driver until officers arrived.
He said police have not identified the driver because he’s been very uncooperative and has given several different names and they’re not sure who he is yet. Police also haven’t yet determined what caused the crash.
“It can be three factors,” Sandoval said. “It could be intoxication; it could be an accident; or it could be intentional. In order for us to find out exactly what happened, we have to eliminate the other two.”
A woman who drove by the scene said she saw several bodies covered on the road, plus another victim being put into an ambulance. She also saw several people praying nearby.
Luis Herrera survived the crash, telling Nexstar’s KVEO he and his friends were waiting to go to the airport when they were struck. He was hit on the right side of his body but a number of his friends were killed.
“We were going to the airport and it happened unexpectedly because a woman in a car passed by and advised us to separate and moments later the killer was coming in the car gesturing and insulting us,” Herrera said.
Police said the area would remain closed for several hours as the investigation continued.
The Ozanam shelter is the only overnight shelter in the city of Brownsville and manages the release of thousands of migrants from federal custody. The shelter can hold 250, but many who arrive leave the same day. In the last several weeks, an uptick in border crossings prompted the city to declare an emergency as local, state and federal resources coordinated the enforcement and humanitarian response.
While the shelter offers migrants transportation during the week, they are also free to use the city’s public transportation.
Maldonado said the center had not received any threats before the crash, but they did afterwards.
“I’ve had a couple of people come by the gate and tell the security guard that the reason this happened was because of us,” Maldonado said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.