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Texas driver charged with eight counts of manslaughter in crash

2023-05-08T16:07:38Z

A law enforcement officer investigates a damaged vehicle after it ran into pedestrians near Ozanam Center, a shelter for migrants and homeless, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S. May 7, 2023 in a still image from video. ABC affiliate KRGV via REUTERS

A Texas man accused of mowing down a group of pedestrians with his SUV near a Brownsville homeless shelter that attends to migrants was charged on Monday with eight counts of manslaughter, police said.

Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda said during a news conference that the driver, identified as George Alvarez, 34, ran a red light, lost control of his vehicle and hit 18 people.

Responding to a question from a reporter, Sauceda said investigators have not ruled out that the crash was intentional. He also said that investigators were waiting for toxicology reports.

The driver attempted to flee the scene after impact but was held down by several bystanders, Sauceda said.

Alvarez, who was also charged with 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, has an extensive criminal history, the chief said. Alvarez was being held on $3.6 million.

A video circulating online purporting to show the crash shows a speeding SUV plowing into a row of people sitting on the curb. A second video of the aftermath appears to show victims lying on the ground, some bloodied and writhing, while others lay motionless.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the videos.

The city of Brownsville, on the border with Mexico, is one of the places expecting an influx of migrants when COVID-era restrictions under Title 42 expire on Thursday.