10 Killed in Crash of Packed Van in South Texas
At least 10 people have died after a van carrying more than two dozen passengers suspected of being migrants crashed in south Texas on Wednesday about 80 miles north of the Mexican border, local authorities said.
Sgt. Nathan Brandley of the Texas Department of Public Safety said at least 20 people were injured and several were in critical condition in nearby hospitals. The driver of the vehicle was among 10 people killed, he said.
The van was carrying 30 people when it crashed south of Encino, Brooks County Sheriff Urbino Martinez said. the Texas Department of Public Safety said the vehicle crash happened at around 4 p.m. on the US 281 northbound highway, south of the US border patrol checkpoint at Falfurrias.
Sergeant Brandley said witnesses saw the pickup truck attempting to turn right at an intersection before pulling off the road and colliding with a metal pole and stop sign. Neither the border patrol nor the Ministry of Public Security were chasing the vehicle, he said.
The Department of Public Security was working with the Mexican Consulate and the US Border Patrol to identify the victims and their nationalities.
“They appear to be undocumented immigrants,” said Sgt. Brandley.
The accident came less than a week after Governor Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order banning private transportation providers from providing land transit to large numbers of migrants. His press service did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.
The ordinance “scared off” authorized drivers transporting migrants in the Rio Grande Valley, said Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, founder and director of the Sidewalk School for Asylum Seekers.
Dylan Corbett, the founding director of the Hope Border Institute in El Paso, said he suspected the people in the van had organized their own transport instead of relying on a humanitarian organization. Maybe that’s why they were so tight in the vehicle.
“People who take the trip and choose this know they are putting their lives at risk,” he said, “but they don’t have a lot of options.”
The journey became particularly dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic, when a public health rule issued by President Donald J. Trump and confirmed by President Biden allowed border officials to quickly turn back most migrants to the southern border. Where is.
The number of people entering the country shows no signs of declining, and Mr Corbett said the rule, known as Title 42, has forced migrants to take more risks when entering the United States. .
“What happened today you can draw a direct link to our policy of deterrence,” he said.
There have been several major fatal accidents involving migrants this year.
In the Imperial Valley of California, 13 people crammed into an SUV from Mexico died in early March when the vehicle collided with a semi-trailer platform. Federal state officials later accused a 47-year-old US resident of arranging transport for people entering the country illegally.
Less than two weeks after the crash in California, eight people died in southwest Texas when a pickup truck collided head-on with another pickup truck during a 50-mile police chase. A 24-year-old Texas man was charged weeks later with “transporting illegal aliens resulting in death.”
Edgar Sandoval contributed reports.
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