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Texas driver who crashed into people at bus stop charged with manslaughter

Brownsville Police Department Chief Felix Sauceda speaks at a news conference in Brownsville Texas on May 8 2023

Photo by Moisés ÁVILA / AFP

J-P Mauro - published on 05/08/23

Bishop Flores has urged the faithful to "Pray for the victims, pray for the families and loved ones, and pray for our community.”

Tragedy befell the town of Brownsville, Texas, when a driver plowed through a group of people waiting at a bus stop. The May 7 incident claimed the lives of eight – six died at the scene and two later succumbed to their injuries in the hospital – with at least nine more wounded. It is still unknown whether it was an accident or intentional.

CNN identified the driver as George Alverez, 34, who police say has an extensive criminal record, which includes driving while intoxicated. He was charged on Monday with eight counts of manslaughter, 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and reckless driving, with the possibility of more charges when his toxicology report returns. Video taken by bystanders shows that Alverez attempted to flee the scene before witnesses detained him. 

Brownsville Police spokesman Martin Sandoval explained that the investigation is still ongoing, and there are many questions left to answer: 

“We are looking at it three different ways,” Sandoval said. “One, to see if he was intoxicated. We took a blood sample, and we 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.”

Reports note that witnesses saw the gray Range Rover ignore a red light as it approached the bus stop, where over a dozen people were sitting on the curb. Chilling footage of the moments leading up to the tragedy, on The Independent, show that the driver made no attempt to slow his vehicle. 

On Sunday evening, just hours after the crash, Bishop Daniel E. Flores and his Auxiliary Bishop Mario A. Avilés, of the Diocese of Brownsville, held a solemn Mass where they prayed for the victims. The Mass was held in front of the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center, a non-profit homeless shelter that helps to house migrants in the border town, which is located close to the scene of the crash. 

Bishop Flores said in a statement: 

“As we await a fuller report from law enforcement authorities, let us stop for a moment to mourn these losses of life and to pray. Pray for the victims, pray for the families and loved ones, and pray for our community.”

The prelate continued, “We must resist the corrosive tendency to devalue the lives of immigrants, the poor, and the vulnerable. Let us take extra steps as a local community to care for and protect one another, especially the most vulnerable.”

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