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Police search for driver who hit 6 migrant workers

The Associated Press//August 1, 2023//

Police search for driver who hit 6 migrant workers

The Associated Press//August 1, 2023//

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LINCOLNTON — Six migrant workers who were intentionally hit by an SUV in a Walmart parking lot in North Carolina have been released from the hospital, police said on Monday.

The workers were rammed by a vehicle outside a Walmart in Lincolnton on Sunday in what appears to have been an intentional assault, but Maj. Brian Greene, interim chief of the Lincolnton Police Department, said the driver’s motives are still under investigation. The victims were treated at a local hospital for their injuries, and all were released late Sunday, Greene told The Associated Press.

Police identified them as Jorge A. Lopez, Zalapa M. Hermosillo, Jose L. Calderon, Luis D. Alcantar, Rodrigo M. Gutierrez-Tapia and Santiago Baltazar. They could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

The workers had arrived at the Walmart parking lot late Sunday morning from Knob Creek Orchard in Lawndale, where they tend to the farmland. Greene said they make the same trip once a week and use a shaded lawn at the bottom of the parking lot as their regular meeting place to board buses. The men were standing under trees Sunday when an SUV pulled up next to the bus.

“It turns right in front of the bus and appears like it’s almost going to park,” Greene said, describing security footage of the incident. “And then it appears to accelerate at the last minute, jumping the curb, hitting the individuals and the trees and going through the area into the other side of the parking lot and exits the same way it came.”

Police are asking the public for help identifying the driver and the vehicle, described in the police report as an older model black sport utility vehicle with a luggage rack.

The police department said it’s working with the FBI, the State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles on the ongoing investigation.

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