A 28-year-old man from Honduras told Univision that the driver of the van involved in a crash in Encino, Texas, on Wednesday, was on the phone and speeding before the vehicle flipped and hit a pole
The illegal immigrants jam-packed in an overloaded Texas van before it crashed – killing 11 people – were traded like pawns between smugglers for five months, the sister of one of the survivors claimed.
The Honduran woman’s 28-year-old brother was among the 20 migrants who survived the crash on a Texas highway Wednesday.
‘In those five months they had him there, they were only asking for money, money, money, and they never did anything for any of them. What they did was a pure scam, a pure robbery,’ the sister, whose name was withheld, told Telemundo.
‘I say they did that to grab more money,’ she said. ‘They put people at risk even though you put yourself at risk from the moment you put yourself in their hands. One does not know if they will arrive with their family member or not.’
Her brother gave his own harrowing account from a Texas hospital bed of the smugglers’ attempt to ferry the group safely across the United States-Mexico border.
The van’s driver, who was killed in the accident, was speeding and talking on the phone before he crashed into a pole and flipped on Highway 281 in Encino, the brother told Univision.
‘I only felt the impact and I only saw all the people who were dead,’ said the man, whose name was not released. ‘The only thing I did (was) run to the hill and an immigration agent found us and I (was) bleeding from my lip and another person from his head.’
Law enforcement agents at the scene of Wednesday’s tragic accident on a highway in Encino, Texas, where 11 people, mostly undocumented immigrants, were killed and 20 others were injured
The crushed van rests in tall grass two miles south of the Falfurrias U.S. Border Patrol three-lane traffic checkpoint
According to Univision, one of his friends, Jorge Baralaga, was among the 10 migrants who died.
Baralaga’s father, whose identity was not disclosed and lives in the Dallas area, told the network that he noticed his son was one of the victims after seeing a photo that showed the son’s body lying outside the van.
‘It’s better if he would have never came. He wouldn’t have died,’ the distraught dad said. ‘But sometimes you want to provide a better future for your children.’
U.S. authorities have not released the names and nationalities of the injured or fatality victims.
The driver and the passengers were pronounced dead at the scene.
Honduran national Jorge Baralaga was among the 11 people, including 10 migrants, in Wednesday’s crash. He was heading to reunite with his father in Dallas, Texas
Survivors of the horrific crash were transported to hospitals in Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi
Brooks County Sheriff Urbino Martínez said the van was designed to carry only 15 passengers and flipped when the driver lost control on a curve.
Mexico’s consulate office in McAllen, Texas, confirmed Thursday that one Mexican person was injured and three others were killed.
Helicopters transported the injured to trauma centers in the Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is leading the investigation with assistance from the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office.
Encino, a small community of about 140 residents, is two miles south of the Falfurrias Border Patrol three-lane traffic check point.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection was on the scene quickly but is not involved in the investigation as authorities have not found evidence that the van was or had gone through the checkpoint.
The crash happened in Encino, Texas nearly 2 miles south from the Falfurrias Border Patrol check point