US

Suspect in Deadly DUI Crash Is an Illegal Immigrant: Officials

By Zachary Stieber

The suspect in a California car crash that left three people dead is an illegal immigrant from Mexico, federal authorities said.

Ismael Huazo-Jardinez, 33, “is an illegally present Mexican national,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement.

“The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended him in Arizona and granted him voluntary return to Mexico in February 2011. He illegally re-entered at some point thereafter.”

An ICE spokesman told KCRA that Huazo-Jardinez was arrested on May 7, one day after he was released from jail.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (San Francisco) Fugitive Operations Team members apprehended Huazo-Jardinez,” Prince said in a statement. “ICE used available resources to locate and detain him. He will remain in ICE custody pending the disposition of his immigration proceedings.”

The suspect is scheduled to appear in court on June 10 for arraignment. He had at least one prior conviction, for reckless driving, in addition to allegedly committing the crime of re-entering the country after being returned to Mexico, which is a felony crime.

Huazo-Jardinez was driving a car under the influence on May 4 “at a high rate of speed” in Knights Landing and slammed into a parked trailer where a family of four were sleeping, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Three of the family members, the parents and a 10-year-old boy, were killed. The fourth, an 11-year-old girl, was rushed to a nearby hospital with major injuries.

Huazo-Jardinez was arrested and booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence.

The highway patrol asked a judge to make bail $1 million but the judge made it only $300,000, which Huazo-Jardinez posted on May 6. He was free until being arrested by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Residents in the area told Fox 40 that Huazo-Jardinez tried to run away from the crash but witnesses tackled him and held him until highway patrol officers.

“Most of my family is hurt by the fact that it was a drunk driver,” said Jennifer Sicairos, the niece of Jose Pacheco, who was killed along with his wife, Ana, and his son, Angel. “This could have been avoided had they not been drinking or had they taken a different road or something.”

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Jose Alberto Pacheco, right, and his wife, Ana, left, were killed by an illegal immigrant driving under the influence, according to authorities. Their daughter, Mariana, center, survived. (Family Killed In Home While Sleeping/GoFundMe)

Writing on a GoFundMe page, Sicairos said that the girl who survived is named Mariana.

“While she did survive the accident, she was immediately hospitalized and treated for serious injuries. She is currently in critical condition and undergoing multiple surgeries to be able to walk again,” she wrote.

She said that Jose Alberto and his wife were both farmworkers.

Jose “who worked hard as a farmworker day and night, year-round to provide for his family,” she wrote. “He was a humble man who helped anyone in need. There was never a day were he wasn’t smiling. He had a bright personality that immediately lightened everyone’s mood. He always put his family before himself by offering everything he could to provide his children and wife a decent life.”

Ana, she added, “was a selfless, devoted mother and wife. She always put her children first and cared for everyone in her family.”