An overloaded van carrying 29 migrants crashed Wednesday on a remote South Texas highway, killing at least 10 people, including the driver, and injuring 20 others, authorities said. The crash happened shortly after 4pm Wednesday on US 281 in Encino, Texas, about 50 miles north of McAllen. Sgt. Nathan Brandley of the Texas Department of Public Safety says the van, designed to hold 15 passengers, was speeding as the driver tried to veer off the highway onto Business Route 281. He lost control of the top-heavy van, which slammed into a metal utility pole and a stop sign, the AP reports. The van was not being pursued, said Brooks County Sheriff Urbino Martinez, adding that he believed all of the passengers were migrants.
Brandley said the 20 who survived the initial crash all have serious to critical injuries. The identities of the 30 in the van were being withheld until relatives can be notified, Brandley said. No information about the van, including where it was registered or who owned it, was immediately released. Encino is a community of about 140 residents about 2 miles south of the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint. A surge in migrants crossing the border illegally has brought about an uptick in the number of crashes involving vehicles jammed with migrants who pay large amounts to be smuggled into the country. (More on the crisis here, including how drivers are recruited.)