Illegal Immigrant Kills Pedestrian Week After Given Probation
If Luciano Melendres had been deported to Mexico following his 2006 arrest for driving drunk – or even if a judge last week hadn't suspended his six-month jail sentence and given him 12 months probation – Dacus Lamont Sims, 32, would be alive today.
As it is, Melendres is back in jail for a second offense, this time charged with DWI, felony hit-and-run, driving with a license revoked, not having insurance and a registration violation, the Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer reported.
Sims, who was hit while crossing a Charlotte street earlier this week, died at the scene.
Melendres continued to a friend's home and was found because a driver who saw the accident followed his car and contacted police. The illegal alien, who has lived and worked in North Carolina for at least 13 months, denied involvement when questioned by officers.
"Why do they let this man constantly drive?" asked Joset Sims, the victim's sister. "If this gentleman is an illegal immigrant, and he was charged with DWI, why did they not deport him?"
When Melendres was arrested for the first offense in March 2006, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office had not yet instituted detainee screening to determine whether prisoners were in the U.S. illegally, resulting in his release. It is unclear whether the court was aware of his status as an illegal alien when it suspended his jail sentence last week and released him on probation.
The sheriff's new screening program identified more than 900 illegal immigrants passing through the jail between April and November last year. DWIs – the most common count – accounted for 190 of the arrests. Traffic violations, in second place, totaled 176 counts.
WND has reported on the growing list of illegal immigrants who have not only ignored U.S. immigration laws, but state laws against drinking and driving as well, killing innocents on the highways in the process, including:
AlfredoRamos: A Mexican national in the U.S. illegally, Ramos was convicted of driving while intoxicated last year, but that didn't keep him from being behind the wheel after a night of drinking last weekend – and now two teenage girls are dead because of it. According to police, Ramos, 22, slammed the 1998 Mitsubishi he was driving into the rear of a 1994 Plymouth driven by Allison Kunhardt, 17, Friday night in Virginia Beach, Va. Kunhardt and her best friend Tessa Tranchant, 16, were stopped at a traffic light when they were hit from behind. Although both wore seat belts, both died – one at the scene and one after arriving at the hospital. Ramos, charged with manslaughter for the two deaths, was convicted last year of public drunkenness in Virginia Beach and driving under the influence in Chesapeake.
Carlos Prieto: Suspected illegal alien from Mexico was held in the Salt Lake County jail after running a red light and broad siding a family of six, killing three, on Christmas Eve 2006. The charging documents say his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit. The Ceran family, active in local theater and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were returning home after attending a performance of Dicken's "The Christmas Carol," which featured several family members, when their car was struck by a truck driven by Carlos Prieto. The crash killed Cheryl Ceran, 47, and two of her children, 15-year-old Ian and 7-year-old Julinna. Cheryl Ceran's husband, Gary Ceran, 45, and their 19-year-old daughter, Clarissa, and 12-year-old son, Caleb, were injured.
Eduardo Raul Morales-Soriano: When this illegal alien, working as a landscaper in Maryland, killed Marine Cpl. Brian Mathews, 21, and his date, Jennifer Bower, 24, on Thanksgiving night, 2006, it wasn't his first accident where alcohol was apparently involved. Nine months before, he was issued four citations and sent home with a friend after a single-car accident when he refused a Breathalyzer test. A policeman's error resulted in Morales-Soriano – who took advantage of North Carolina's easy rules to obtain his driver's license in 2004 – getting his license returned. On the night he killed the young couple, police say his blood alcohol level was measured at .32 – four times the legal level in Maryland for intoxication. Mathews had served 8 months in Iraq and completed another tour of duty in the Pacific.
Guillermo Paniagua: This 29-year-old Mexican construction worker, living in the U.S. illegally, already had 4 DUI arrests when he slammed his pickup, head-on, into the car driven by Needville, Texas, Independent School District Chief of Police Ernie Mendoza on Jan. 19, 2007. Mendoza died instantly and Paniagua, suffering only cuts and bruises, fled the accident scene into the night. The police officer left behind a wife and four children. Paniagua now he faces first-degree felony murder charges, and failure to stop and render aid.
Gustavo Reyes Garcia: Fourteen previous arrests – including four DUIs – didn't keep illegal alien Gustavo Reyes Garcia off the road June 8, 2006, when he slammed his SUV into a sedan driven by Sean and Donna Wilson of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., killing them both. Garcia short-circuited the criminal trial for two counts of vehicular homicide while intoxicated and evading arrest by pleading guilty on April 9, 2007. "It was the case that brought to our attention ... the flaw in the system," Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said.
Hector Velazquez-Nava: This 24-year-old Mexican national living in Los Angeles reportedly had a 0.24 percent blood-alcohol level – three times the state level to be considered drunk – about the time he drove his SUV head on into a car driven by 'A Christmas Story' director Bob Clark, killing him and his 22-year-old son at the scene. Velazquez-Nava was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter for the April 4, 2007, accident. According to reports, Velazquez-Nava didn't have any previous deportations but had been convicted in 2004 in Los Angeles of soliciting a prostitute, for which he received 24 months probation and a $1,500 fine after pleading no contest.
Isidro Pena Soto: Passing on one of Northern California's most deadly highways, Soto slammed head on into the pickup truck driven by Kent Boone, a 32-year-old pipe fitter on his way to work and father of five. Pena, who had been arrested or convicted at least nine times since 2003, has been charged with second-degree murder.
Joel Perea and Maurilio Herrera: Police took this death hard – it was one of their own. Deputy Loren Lilly, who had been with the Cobb County Sheriff's Office for 18 years, was pronounced dead at the scene after his Honda Accord flipped several times after being struck by a Ford Taurus driven by Perea. "Obviously, being in law enforcement, none of us wants to roll up and see one of our fellow officers or deputies on the scene as well," said one cop. 27-year-old Perea and his passenger, Herrera, 23 fled the scene before being captured.
Jorge Humberto Hernandez-Soto: Police say was driving more than 100 mph on the wrong side of Interstate 485 when he collided head-on with the car of 18-year-old Min Soon Chang, a freshman from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, killing him. According to authorities, the illegal alien had already been sent back to Mexico 17 times and convicted of impaired driving at least a couple of times before the November 2005 crash.
Jose Trejo Encino: The 27-year-old illegal alien from Mexico admitted to deputies, at the scene of the November 2006 single car accident that killed one of his passengers and injured another, "to drinking a 12-pack of beer earlier in the night," but not before first trying to throw the cans of beer he still had in his car into the woods before police arrived.
Luis Oscar Garcia: Police said Garcia had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and that his pants were soaked with a liquid that indicated the presence of alcohol when he ran a red light and killed 18-year-old James F. Rogers Jr. of North Jackson, Tenn., in August 2006. The 24-year-old Mexican had been living in the U.S. without a green card for three years.
Marcos Ramos Medina: The 35-year-old Mexican had twice been deported when, on Aug. 4, 2005, his car swerved several times across the center line, causing a tractor-trailer rig to jackknife in Yakima, Wash. His car then plowed head-on into the 2000 Lexus driven by Peggy Keller, 53, dean of distance education at Yakima Valley Community College, killing her at the scene. Medina, who was found to have at least eight aliases and falsely identified himself at his first court appearance, escaped serious injury. The case against the Mexican national was declared a mistrial in August 2006 because his constitutional right to remain silent had been violated. It took a second jury only 30 minutes to find Medina guilty three months later.
Miguel Garduno Gonzalez: The 43-year-old was accused of causing an accident near Lakeland, Fla., on Aug. 2, 2006, that left Haines City police officer Phoenix Braithwaite, 24, dead. Gonzalez was driving a van that while passing two trucks on U.S. 17-92 in Osceola County near the Polk County line hit the officer, who was on his way to work. Braithwaite, who was riding his motorcycle, was hit head-on and died at the scene. Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant, was not hurt and fled the scene. Two passengers in the van also were not hurt also are illegal immigrants. Gonzalez was being held without bail and the two others were held as material witnesses.
Pastor Rios Sanchez: Despite having pleaded guilty to driving without a license in 2005, and similar counts in March and April of 2006, Sanchez was still on the road on Oct. 27, 2006, when he crossed the yellow line near Sanford, N.C., and collided head-on with a stationwagon carrying Helen Meghan Hughes, 22, of Summerville, S.C., Jennifer Carter, 18, of Jacksonville, N.C., and Hughes' stepbrother, 16-year-old Ben Leonard. All three were killed. The 55-year-old illegal alien was allegedly drunk and carrying a forged residency card.
Ramiro Gallegos: In July 2005, Gallegos had already been charged on three separate occasions with drunk driving. His fourth offence caused the death of Scott Gardiner of Mount Holly, N.C., a father of two young children, when the Mexican citizen's truck struck Gardner's station wagon as he drove his family to the coast for vacation.
Vitalina Bautista Vargas: Neighbors of Louella Winton said the van driven by Vargas, an illegal alien from Mexico, never slowed down before plowing through Winton's home, knocking the 91-year-old woman, who had been asleep in bed, against the wall of the house next door and leaving her under the vehicle outside the house. Winton died of complications from her injuries.
Little caution, critics say, is being exercised when it comes to preventing mayhem on America's highways as the country witnesses record high numbers of unlicensed, unregistered, uninsured drivers – millions of whom are illegal aliens.
While no one – in or out of government – tracks traffic accidents caused by illegal aliens, the statistical and anecdotal evidence suggests many of last year's 42,636 road deaths involved illegal aliens.
A report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study found 20 percent of fatal accidents involve at least one driver who lacks a valid license. In California, another study showed that those who have never held a valid license are about five times more likely to be involved in a fatal road accident than licensed drivers.
Statistically, that makes them an even greater danger on the road than drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked – and nearly as dangerous as drunk drivers.