North Carolina hit-and-run that injured 6 migrant workers was accidental, police say

LINCOLNTON, N.C. (AP) — Police determined Tuesday that a car crash that injured a group of migrant workers in North Carolina was accidental, but the driver has been charged with a felony hit-and-run for fleeing the scene.

New evidence led police to change their original assessment that the crash was intentional, said Maj. Brian Greene, interim chief of the Lincolnton Police Department.

Daniel Gonzalez, 68, turned himself in to the police a day after he allegedly drove his black SUV into the workers, injuring six, while trying to park Sunday outside a Walmart in Lincolnton. Family members who accompanied Gonzalez to the police department told detectives that he had hit the gas pedal accidentally and left the scene in a panic.

“Based on the statements and after consulting with the District Attorney’s Office we are treating this as accidental,” Greene said Tuesday. “People were still injured, and he left the scene, so he was charged with felony hit-and-run” with a $50,000 secure bond.

The victims were treated at a local hospital for their injuries, and all six were released late Sunday, Greene said. Police identified them as Jorge A. Lopez, Zalapa M. Hermosillo, Jose L. Calderon, Luis D. Alcantar, Rodrigo M. Gutierrez-Tapia and Santiago Baltazar. The men had been waiting to board a shuttle bus that regularly transports them to and from Knob Creek Orchard in Lawndale.

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