10 Killed in Crash of Packed Van in South Texas

At least 10 individuals died after a van carrying greater than two dozen passengers believed to be migrants crashed on Wednesday in South Texas about 80 miles north of the Mexico border, the native authorities mentioned.

Sgt. Nathan Brandley of the Texas Department of Public Safety mentioned that a minimum of 20 individuals have been injured and that a number of have been in essential situations at close by hospitals. The driver of the automobile was among the many 10 who have been killed, he mentioned.

The van was transporting 30 individuals when it crashed south of Encino, Sheriff Urbino Martinez of Brooks County mentioned. The Texas Department of Public Safety mentioned the one-vehicle crash occurred about four p.m. on northbound U.S. Highway 281, south of the Falfurrias U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint.

Sergeant Brandley mentioned witnesses noticed the van making an attempt to make a proper flip at an intersection earlier than veering off the highway and hitting a metallic utility pole and a cease signal. Neither the Border Patrol nor the Department of Public Safety was in pursuit of the automobile, he mentioned.

The Department of Public Safety was working with the Mexican consulate and U.S. Border Patrol to establish the victims and their nationalities.

“It appears that they’re undocumented immigrants,” Sergeant Brandley mentioned.

The crash got here lower than per week after Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order barring non-public transportation suppliers from offering floor transit to many migrants. His press workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Wednesday night time.

The order “scared off” licensed drivers who transported migrants in the Rio Grande Valley, mentioned Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, the founder and director of the Sidewalk School for Asylum Seekers.

Dylan Corbett, the founding director of the Hope Border Institute in El Paso, mentioned he suspected that the individuals in the van had organized their very own transportation as an alternative of counting on a humanitarian group. That is perhaps why they have been packed so tightly in the automobile.

“People who make the journey and choose this know they are putting their lives in danger,” he mentioned, “but they don’t have many options.”

The journey has develop into particularly harmful throughout the coronavirus pandemic, when a public health rule enacted by President Donald J. Trump and upheld by President Biden allowed border brokers to quickly flip away most migrants on the southwestern border.

The quantity of individuals crossing into the nation reveals no indicators of waning, and Mr. Corbett mentioned the rule, often called Title 42, has pressured migrants to take extra dangers once they enter the United States.

“What happened today, you can draw a direct line from that to our policy of deterrence,” he mentioned.

There have been a number of main deadly crashes involving migrants this 12 months.

In the Imperial Valley of California, 13 individuals packed into an S.U.V. touring from Mexico died in early March when the automobile collided with a tractor-trailer rig. Federal authorities in the state later charged a 47-year-old U.S. resident with arranging transportation for individuals getting into the nation illegally.

Less than two weeks after the California crash, eight people died in southwestern Texas when a pickup truck collided head-on with one other pickup throughout a 50-mile police chase. A 24-year-old Texas man was charged just a few weeks later with “transporting illegal aliens resulting in death.”

Edgar Sandoval contributed reporting.

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