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Driver Who ‘Intentionally Plowed Into Migrant Workers’ At NC Walmart Turns Himself In, Is Hispanic Himself


On Monday, the driver involved in the accident that injured six immigrant farm workers outside a North Carolina Walmart surrendered to authorities, explaining it was an unintentional incident and that he fled in a state of panic, police say.

The driver is identified as Daniel Gonzalez, a 68-year-old resident of Hickory. He has been charged with felony hit-and-run but was later released on a $50,000 bond, according to a statement from the Lincolnton Police Department.

Accompanied by family members, Gonzalez turned himself in early Monday evening, telling investigators that the collisions on Sunday were not intentional and that he fled in panic, the department stated. The injured farm workers were taken to the hospital but are expected to recover fully from their injuries. The workers are in the United States on agricultural visas for seasonal farm work and were transported to the Lincolnton Walmart, 35 miles northwest of Charlotte, for shopping by bus, according to their employer, Jeff Crotts of Knob Creek Farm in Lawndale.

Initially, authorities suspected the collisions might have been deliberate, leading them to share security footage of the involved SUV and describe the potential culprit as an older white man. The FBI also joined the investigation. However, on Monday, the situation took a significant turn when the Lincolnton Interim Police Chief, Brian R. Greene, revealed that the driver might be Hispanic or Latino.

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While initially referred to as a person of interest, Gonzalez was later identified by the police as the primary suspect they had been searching for. After consulting with prosecutors, detectives recommended charging him with felony hit-and-run.

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