On June 24, 2007 Duke University computer programmer George Smith, 54, of Cary, NC was killed by a drunk driving illegal alien from Mexico, Michael DeLatorre, aka Ricardo Contreras, driving a stolen vehicle.
State Troopers say Contreras was driving while impaired and crossed the median on I-40, near Raleigh, NC, slamming into two cars. State Troopers also say the SUV he was driving was stolen from the Charlotte area.
After striking Smith's car, the Tahoe then struck a Ford Mustang driven by Carolyn Hageman, 35, of Apex. She was taken to Western Wake Hospital with minor injuries.Federal immigration officials say De Latorre's fingerprints suggest his real name is Ricardo Contreras and that he had been picked up by ICE officials in California and deported twice in April of 2004. Federal authorities sContreras is in the country illegally and ICE officials have placed a detainer on him at the jail.
Contreras was charged with DWI, felony death by motor vehicle, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, no operator's license and careless and reckless driving.
Roberto Alvarez-Castaneda, a passenger in the SUV, was charged with illegal entry into the country after being deported. He was previously deported in 2000. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Another passenger, Mejia-Ocampo, is charged with being an illegal alien in possession of firearms.
In Charlotte, a police detective noticed that the owner of the Tahoe had said it was stolen from his home nearly 12 hours after the accident in Cary. According to a report filed Tuesday at 8:51 a.m., Manuel Gaucin-Amezquita said his SUV was stolen between 7 p.m. Monday and about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. Detective Andre Briggs said he is looking into the possibility that Gaucin-Amezquita filed a false report.
Friends and family said George Smith was an avid gardener and a devoted father and friend who loved cooking, listening to the Beatles and reading science fiction novels. Smith always remembered birthdays and anniversaries, his family said. "He's probably the best friend several thousand people had," said Tommy Carraway of Goldsboro.One state lawmaker says he's tired of excuses from government officials. He says this is proof our immigration system is severely flawed. State Representative George Cleveland is steamed knowing the man who caused the wreck is not only here illegally, but has been booted from the U.S two times before.
"We're illegal alien friendly with our policies," said Jacksonville Republican George Cleveland.
Rep. Cleveland has introduced several bills aimed at clamping down on illegal immigrants, but his measures have not gotten anywhere. He wonders how many lives need to be lost, how much money spent until the public says enough is enough. "For us as taxpayers to put this guy in jail for 20 years, at $25,000, $27,000 a year, it's insane, and deporting isn't working either, we need to secure the border," Cleveland said.
6JUN07, NBC 17, Raleigh, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C
Driver In Fatal Accident Previously Deported, by Brian DeRoy
20JUN07, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C
Illegal immigrant accused in wreck indicted
5JUN07, WRAL NC
Illegal Immigrant Held in Fatal I-40 Wreck
15NOV07, ABC11 News Raleigh, NC
Illegal immigrant charged in fatal DWI gets minimal sentence
16NOV2007, NEWS14 Carolina
Illegal Immigrant Admits Guilt in Crash
This incident was also reported by Eba Hamid and Thomasi McDonald, of The News & Observer in Grief, doubts follow fatality and Brian DeRoy of WNCN 17 News in Raleigh-Durham in Driver In Fatal Accident Previously Deported.