Min Soon Chang, 18, a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was instantly killed on Novemebr 18, 20005 by drunk driving, illegal alien Jorge Hernandez-Soto who was driving at an estimated 100 miles per hour on the wrong side of Interstate 485 in North Carolina.
Police said that Hemandez-Soto had driven 20 miles on the wrong side of the highway and other drivers described having close calls. The N.C. Highway Patrol said officers were trying to signal Hernandez-Soto to pull over from across a median when the wreck occurred. One of the first police officers on the accident scene was C.L. Amaral, who described Hernandez as smelling strongly of alcohol and "totally out of it" Hernandez admitted his immigration status and describes himself as an agricultural worker who has been here three years.
In a hospital interview, Hernandez-Soto told The Observer he drank six beers before Friday's wreck. Hernandez has been charged with driving while impaired and involuntary manslaughter. Trooper Brian Huffstickler of the N.C. Highway Patrol said Hernandez also could face second-degree murder charges if police find out he has prior DWI convictions. "He has blown all safe driving rules out the window," Huffstickler said.
Mecklenburg police said a man charged with drunken driving, and hitting and killing 18-year-old Min Soon Chang, actually goes by at least two other names and has been arrested for drunken driving at least three other times. State troopers discovered the man, Jorge Hernandez, is an illegal immigrant who has been arrested for DWI in three other states.
Hernandez Soto had a prior DWI conviction in Tennessee and prior arrests for DWI in Colorado, Kansas and in Wilkes County, Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Jay Ashendorf said.
Hernandez Soto entered the country 17 times between 1996 and 2000, according to Salvador Zamora, spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol. Hernandez Soto crossed from Douglas, Ariz., at least eight times, but was caught and sent back to Mexico repeatedly, Zamora said.
Authorities didn't know at the time of the fatal wreck when Hernandez Soto last crossed the border or how long he'd been in the United States. He was last deported in August 2000.
Trooper Brian Huffstickler said Hernandez Soto told the Highway Patrol he'd been working as a vegetable processor in South Carolina. He also told them he didn't remember anything about the wreck.
Hernandez Soto told the Observer that he had been living in Florence County, S.C., about 130 miles southeast of Charlotte. He said he came to Charlotte to pick up the SUV for a friend and had six beers before the crash. He also expressed remorse about Chang's death.
Jeff Jordan, who heads U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in North Carolina, said Thursday that Hernandez Soto will be deported after he serves his prison time.
"He'll be removed, rest assured, when he completes his sentence," Jordan said. "He won't be allowed to return to the community.
"Rep. Sue Myrick has proposed legislation that would require immediate deportation for any drunk-driving illegal alien. She called the tragedy a wake-up call and said, "It's so senseless, it's so senseless. The issue is that you're legal, or you're illegal." Min was described as outgoing by family and friends, and was enrolled as a pre-business student.
17OCT05 Lou Dobbs Interview with Rep. Myrick about Immigration Bills http://www.myrick.house.gov/newsletter_lou_dobbs_interview2oct172005immigration.shtml
18NOV05, WSOC TV9
Family Mourns Teen Killed In I-485 Accident
21NOV05, WCNC Carolina
Myrick pushes immigration reform in wake of deadly 485 crash, by John Romero. http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/stories/112105-ad-wcnc-485funeral.81ecf27c.html
24NOV05, AP Report in The News Observer
High bond set in fatal collision
21NOV05, WSOC TV
Police Learn New Info About Man Charged With Drunken Driving http://www.wsoctv.com/news/5376403/detail.html