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Update: Suspect arrested after striking six Latino farmworkers with SUV, Lincolnton police say

 An SUV in a parking lot seen from security footage
Lincolnton Police Department
Surveillance footage
The dark SUV, turning in front of a white bus, that police say intentionally hit six farmworkers before driving off.

Puedes leer la nota en español en La Noticia.

Update: This story was updated Tuesday morning to reflect the arrest of a suspect and the police description of the incident.

Police are investigating after six seasonal farmworkers were struck by an SUV in Lincoln County on Sunday in what police initially said was an intentional attack. Late Monday, police said a suspect was arrested and that the crash appeared accidental.

 Gonzalez mugshot
Lincolnton Police Department
Daniel Gonzalez, 68, is charged with felony hit and run.

Lincolnton police released footage of the crash Monday morning and had described the hit-and-run driver as an older white man. The incident took place in a Walmart parking lot.

Maj. Brian Greene pointed out the mid-size, black SUV in security footage approaching a bus. That bus is used to transport workers from Knob Creek Orchard, located northwest of Lincolnton.

"Instead of pulling into the parking space, [the SUV] appears to accelerate at the last minute, going through the median area and hitting the individuals that are standing there," he said.

A 68-year-old man, Daniel Gonzalez, turned himself in to police on Monday evening. He came to the police department with several family members, police said, and told investigators he had been in an accident.

"The family members said he told them he was parking at Walmart and hit the gas by accident. The family members said he told them he panicked and left the scene," police said in a statement.

Lincolnton SUV attack

One of the victims, Santiago Balcazar, said the men were finishing up their weekly shopping trip.

"We were there in the parking lot, sitting there talking," he said in Spanish. "Suddenly, a truck came up behind us. It crashed into us and dragged us away."

The men, all from Mexico, hold H2A visas for temporary agricultural workers, he added. They had planned to work in North Carolina through the end of the harvest season.

The six victims were treated and released from a hospital on Sunday. Balcazar said he has an injured hand and pain throughout his body. Another man suffered a broken ankle.

Carolina Migrant Network, a Charlotte-based advocacy group, decried the attack as a hate crime and called for a thorough investigation.

But the circumstances did not appear to reflect that assessment. Gonzalez was arrested and charged with felony hit and run. He is being held on a $50,000 secured bond.

This story was produced through a collaboration between WFAE and La Noticia. You can read it in Spanishat La Noticia. Puedes leer la nota en español en La Noticia.

Kayla Young is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race, equity, and immigration for WFAE and La Noticia, an independent Spanish-language news organization based in Charlotte. Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health and Wells Fargo.