Official: Van driver that nearly hit bus an illegal migrant
The van involved in a reckless driving incident near a school bus on Route 7 in Pittstown was driven by an illegal migrant, with another illegal migrant a passenger in the van, according to Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin.
The incident happened at about 2:42 p.m. on Tuesday. Police arrested Angel Fernando Pandiguana Pachar. He is accused of passing the bus, which had stopped to let off a student.
The 12-year-old girl was about to step off the bus, when the quick-thinking bus driver closed the door. McLaughlin and the father of the girl have described the bus driver’s actions as heroic.
Pachar lost control of the vehicle, struck an oncoming truck traveling east on Route 7 before leaving the roadway and coming to a stop. No injuries were reported.
Pachar was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving and other vehicle and traffic violations. He was released on appearance ticket and is due in Pittstown Town Court on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.
McLaughlin said in a post on Facebook the van driver is in the country illegally from El Salvador. Another passenger in the van is also in the country illegally from El Salvador. Both were referred to ICE.
“We have been sounding the alarm on the impact of illegal migrants for months, and today is a reminder that action is needed now to protect our residents,” said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin said the incident shows the issue with illegal migrants is becoming an even greater public safety issue. The illegal migrant driving had no driver’s license and there was no insurance on the van, according to authorities.
“This was a scary event and could have resulted in a tragedy involving an elementary school student. This incident was caused by an illegal migrant operating a vehicle without a license and with no apparent regard for anyone else’s safety,” said McLaughlin.
“This is outrageous and dangerous. I call on President Biden and Governor Hochul to get control of the borders and put the safety of our residents ahead of their foolish open border schemes,” he added.
“The sad event of today is why I issued an emergency order preventing illegal migrants from being forced into our county and housed by businesses or municipalities. Our emergency order remains in effect, and we continue to call for common-sense and safe immigration policies,” said McLaughlin.