Teen to be tried as adult in deadly South Texas van crash

9 illegal immigrants killed in accident


A South Texas judge has ruled that a 16-year-old boy should be prosecuted as an adult for allegedly killing nine illegal immigrants in a crash while fleeing Border Patrol.

A Hidalgo County judge issued his ruling Wednesday for Junior Benjamin Rodriguez, who is charged with nine counts of murder. He was 15 last April when he was allegedly fleeing Border Patrol in Palmview while driving a van packed with illegal immigrants.

What happened next is disputed. A witness says he saw a Border Patrol vehicle bump the van before it crashed, sending immigrants flying onto the ground. But a Border Patrol agent testified last year the van had already crashed on a highway frontage road by the time he arrived.

Rodriguez was arraigned Wednesday as an adult and bond was set at $25,000 per count.


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