5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, August 5

Mayor Sylvester Turner discusses perceived disparities in post-Harvey home rebuilding programs
Mayor Sylvester Turner discusses perceived disparities in post-Harvey home rebuilding programs

Here are things to know for Thursday, August 5:

1. 10 dead, 20 injured after overloaded van crashes in South Texas, authorities say

An overloaded van carrying 29 migrants crashed Wednesday on a remote South Texas highway, killing at least 10 people, including the driver, and injuring 20 others, authorities said.

The crash happened shortly after 4 p.m. on U.S. 281 in Encino, Texas, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of McAllen. Sgt. Nathan Brandley of the Texas Department of Public Safety says the van, designed to hold 15 passengers, was speeding as the driver tried to veer off the highway onto Business Route 281. He lost control of the top-heavy van, which slammed into a metal utility pole and a stop sign.

The van was not being pursued, said Brooks County Sheriff Urbino Martinez.

The sheriff said he believed all of the passengers were migrants. Brandley said the death toll was initially announced as 11 but was later revised. He also said the 20 who survived the initial crash all have serious to critical injuries.

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2. GRAPHIC VIDEOS: Houston police release body camera footage from deadly officer-involved shooting on July 6 in southeast Houston

The Houston Police Department released graphic body camera footage from an officer-involved shooting on July 6 on its YouTube Channel on Wednesday, showing the moment a scuffle broke out between officers and a suspect.

The shooting happened in southeast Houston in the 7500 block of Park Place.

The first video in the HPD playlist on the incident entitled, “HPD Critical Incident - 2021-07-06 at 7525 Park Place” begins with an introduction from HPD Assistant Chief Belinda Null with a warning about the graphic language and content of the video, a reminder that the incident remains under investigation and a rundown of the events as described by police.

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3. HAVE YOU SEEN HIM? Blue Alert issued for man accused of shooting Corpus Christi police officer

A Blue Alert has been issued for a 20-year-old man who investigators say shot a Corpus Christi police officer Wednesday.

The Corpus Christi Police Department is looking for Joshua Powell, described by police as standing 5′8″, with brown dreadlocks and brown eyes, weighing 150 pounds. Police say he was last seen wearing a dark shirt, khaki pants and has tattoos on his left arm.

Police are also searching for a green, 1999 Buick Regal with a Texas license plate of CSC1880.

Investigators said the shooting happened after police responded to a call at an apartment complex located in the 5900 block of Weber Road around 2 p.m.

During the investigation, the suspect shot at the police officer, striking him. The officer was transported to the hospital in stable condition.

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4. Local mask mandates pop up in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning COVID-19 restrictions

Local mask mandates are popping back up across Texas — even as Gov. Greg Abbott has stressed that local officials who try to enforce restrictions aimed at reducing spread of COVID-19 will be penalized.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is the most recent to defy the governor’s order. He announced Monday that the city’s nearly 22,000 city employees will be required to mask up inside city buildings where social distancing is not doable, such as bathrooms, elevators and conference rooms.

“The mayor has a right and responsibility to ask city employees to wear face coverings indoors to help stop the virus from spreading,” Mary Benton, a Turner spokesperson, said to the Houston Chronicle. “With the rise in the delta variant cases and high numbers of unvaccinated individuals, Mayor Turner is doing what is necessary to keep [city] employees healthy.”

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5. Mayor Turner, Houston-area school districts push to get families, children ages 12 and above vaccinated before going back to school

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and representatives from the Houston Health Department and several education leaders from different Houston-area school districts announced the “Super Saturday Vaccination Day” initiative Wednesday.

The initiative is a collaboration between the City of Houston, the Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health and several Houston-area school districts to get families and children ages 12 and above vaccinated before going back to school.

“Fourteen HISD campuses will take part in the mayor’s Super Saturday Vaccination Day initiative this month,” said Houston Independent School District Superintendent Millard House. “Increasing vaccination rates among our communities will help ease the worries of our families as their children return to school. For some of them, it will be the first time inside a school building in 18 months. Rest assured, HISD is planning for a safe return. We are doing everything we can to protect our students and staff, but we need your help. The best way you can do that is by getting vaccinated.”

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