Posted: Sep 18, 2012 5:35 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2012 11:59 PM
McALLEN - A witness on Tuesday testified that Border Patrol agents may have caused a crash that left nine illegal immigrants dead in Palmview.
The man said in court that Border Patrol agents bumped a van full of illegal immigrants causing it to flip. The crash happened in April.
The witness, Abelardo Villarreal, said the agents bumped the van from behind on Expressway 83. The van flipped after the bump, he said.
He described how an agent reacted after he found out someone was dead.
"He asked me again if he was alive ... and I told him 'I don't think he's alive ... no he's not.' He looked at me and opened his eyes like this ... and that's it ... he went back to checking the rest," Villarreal said.
Police said a 15-year-old from La Joya was driving the van. He was charged with murder.
The teenager has been in juvenile detention for the past five months. His attorney, Jaime Aleman, said Border Patrol agents caused the crash.
Prosecutors objected to the testimony. They said the hearing was not a criminal trial, but a status hearing to determine if the boy will remain in detention.
The agents involved in the chase testified at Tuesday's hearing.
The judge ruled the teenager will remain in custody.