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At least 10 killed when van carrying migrants crashes in Texas

Van carrying migrants crashes in Texas
Van carrying migrants crashes, killing at least 10 people in Texas 10:36

An overcrowded van full of migrants crashed near Encino, Texas, on Wednesday, killing 10 people while traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 281, about 80 miles north of McAllen and the Texas-Mexico border.

The driver of a Ford passenger van was traveling at a high speed in the outside lane when he attempted to turn right, veering off the roadway, according to a preliminary investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). A witness told Texas DPS that the driver struck a metal utility pole and a stop sign. The driver and nine passengers were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, per Texas DPS.

At least 30 people were traveling inside the van at the time of the accident, according to the Brooks County Sheriff Office. Twenty individuals were injured and have been transported to five area hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Seargent Nathan Brandley at Texas DPS said Thursday that the remaining 20 injured passengers transported to area hospitals are all in stable condition at this time. Investigators are still working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine the countries of origin of the passengers in the van, as well as identify the driver. 

The exact cause of the accident remained unclear on Thursday, as the vehicle was not under pursuit by law enforcement or otherwise. Officials noted that these kinds of van accidents often see inexperienced drivers at the helm. 

Sheriff Benny Martinez told CBS News that the van was carrying migrants originating from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Authorities respond to the scene of the crash around 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Courtesy News Nation

Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol's tactical unit, known as BORTAC, first responded to the scene and helped crash victims, according to Texas DPS.

In March, 13 people packed into a SUV traveling from Mexico to Southern California died after colliding with a semi-truck. Federal prosecutors charged a 47-year-old U.S. resident for transporting unauthorized individuals into the country. 

A 24-year-old Texas man was charged with "transporting illegal aliens resulting in death" after eight people died in a head-on collision in southwest Texas, just weeks later.

Grace Samuelson contributed to this report.

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