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Local News

Austin man charged in Del Rio crash that killed 8

todayMarch 18, 2021

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An Austin man is charged in connection with a crash that killed eight undocumented immigrants near the border city of Del Rio on Monday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said 24-year old Sebastian Tovar, of Austin, appeared in court Wednesday and was charged with his role in a conspiracy to transport undocumented immigrants resulting in death. He faces up to life in prison if he is convicted.

According to ICE, court documents allege Tovar was traveling in a pickup truck on FM 2523 when a Texas DPS trooper attempted to pull him over for speeding, but he didn’t stop. The trooper chased Tovar for nearly 50 miles at speeds reaching more than 100 miles per hour, according to ICE.

Tovar reportedly went north into the southbound lane on Highway 277 and collided with another car head on. Eight undocumented immigrants in Tovar’s truck died.

All victims were from Mexico and between the ages of 18 and 20, according to AP reports. Law enforcement went on record saying that Tovar attempted to flee after the crash but was later arrested.

Another truck also reportedly involved in the same smuggling attempt was found after the crash on Hwy. 277 and multiple occupants from that truck jumped out and ran away.

Ultimately, twelve immigrants were apprehended, and two of them said that they were divided up between the two trucks, according to ICE.

These latest developments come on the heels of 3,000 migrant teens arriving in Dallas late Wednesday night seeking asylum. At least four busses filled with teenage boys pulled up at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which has now been turned into an emergency center for at least the next 90 days to help ease the strain on intake areas at the border overrun with a surge of migrants.

The teens being housed in Dallas are all boys between the ages of 15 to 17, according to a memo sent to the Dallas City Council. This new FEMA site is being called a “decompression center.” The U.S. Health and Human Services Department opened the center to help take the strain off of the U.S. Border Patrol, which is not supposed to detain children for more than three days but has been doing that regularly because there is no more room at HHS sites.


Written by: Michelle Layton

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