Man’s brother, cousin badly injured in Brownsville crash

Jose Luis Ruiz said he is still waiting to hear how his brother and cousin are doing after they were hit by an SUV while waiting at a bus stop in Brownsville.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The man accused of crashing into a group of people in Brownsville appeared before a judge for the first time on Monday.

George Alvarez, 34, is facing a string of manslaughter and aggravated assault charges. He is accused of crashing his SUV into at least 18 people who were waiting at a bus stop on Sunday. Prosecutors said he ran a red light and then lost control of his vehicle. A judge set his bail at $3.6 million.

“The SUV ran a red light, lost control and flipped onto its side and hit a total of 18 people,” said Police Chief Felix Sauceda.

Eight people died in the crash. Three survivors were able to go home on Monday to recover, while seven others were still being treated at an area hospital. Investigators said all of the victims appear to be men and most of them appear to be from Venezuela.

Jose Luis Ruiz said his brother and cousin were both injured in the crash and were being treated at an area hospital. He said he doesn’t have much information about his brother, but he knows he suffered a serious head injury. He said both his brother and cousin were in critical condition.

Ruiz said he hopes to get an update on their condition soon. He said they are from Venezuela and have traveled to many countries in pursuit of the American dream.

Investigators said they are still waiting for a toxicology report on Alvarez. They also said they weren’t sure whether the crash was accidental or intentional.

According to authorities, Alvarez has a long criminal history and is originally from Brownsville. They said he tried to flee the scene, but witnesses managed to detain him while they waited for police to arrive.

Brownsville has seen a surge in Venezuelan migrants over the past two weeks for unclear reasons, according to local authorities. On Thursday, 4,000 of the approximately 6,000 migrants detained by Border Patrol in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley were Venezuelans. Rising migrant numbers this week prompted Brownsville commissioners to extend an emergency declaration indefinitely.

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