A van crammed with 30 illegal immigrants overturned in Texas on Wednesday leaving 10 passengers dead and several others critically injured.
According to ABC News 10, Brooks County Sheriff Urbino “Benny” Martinez said the illegal immigrants were all adults and were airlifted to hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley following the crash. Ten occupants, including the driver, were killed in the crash, and the 20 other passengers were reported as being in critical condition.
“The driver overestimated the curve he was coming up to at a high rate of speed and he just lost it,” Martinez said.
Reuters reported that Sgt. Nathan Brandley of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the van swerved off Highway 281 in Encino, Texas, around 4 p.m. roughly 50 miles north of McAllen and hit a metal pole.
Sgt. Brandley said the accident occurred just miles from a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint. Authorities in Texas are coordinating with the Mexican consulate to identify the injured and killed.
The van was overloaded with twice the number of legal passengers and did not have seats or restraints, Brandley noted. The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident.
Highway 281 was closed for multiple hours due to the accident, but was reopened shortly after 10 p.m., Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra tweeted. The highway is the only way for drivers to travel north from the Rio Grande Valley to Austin, Houston, Dallas and other areas.
“North and south bound lanes on US 281 south of the Falfurrias US Border Patrol Checkpoint – Brooks County have been re-opened to traffic,” Sheriff Eddie Guerra tweeted.
Illegal immigrants continuing crossing the US-Mexico border by the thousands despite increasing concerns from the Biden administration about COVID-19.
The New York Post reported that nearly 7,000 illegal immigrants who tested positive for the virus were transported through the City of McAllen, Texas, including over 1,500 in the past week, officials said Wednesday.
Both McAllen and Hidalgo County declared local states of disaster this week due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and limited space in holding facilities.
“The Biden Administration has knowingly — and willfully — released COVID-19 positive migrants into Texas communities, risking the potential exposure and infection of Texas residents,” a spokesperson for Gov. Greg Abbott said after a federal judge temporarily blocked the governor’s order to stop transporting illegal immigrants out of fear of spreading COVID-19. “The Governor’s Executive Order attempts to prevent the Biden Administration from spreading COVID-19 into Texas and protect the health and safety of Texans.”