Monday, June 19, 2006

Authorities are trying to figure out how an illegal immigrant from Mexico managed to avoid deportation despite being arrested more than a dozen times

Sheila Burke:

Gustavo Reyes Garcia

Gustavo Reyes Garcia, 28, has accumulated dozens of criminal charges and been arrested 14 times in Nashville without being flagged by federal authorities for being in the country illegally.

He caught their attention after he was accused of killing two people on June 8. It was his 15th arrest.

"The jail management records do not show a federal hold placed on Garcia, except for the one that he has now," said Karla Crocker, spokeswoman for the Davidson County Sheriff's Office.

Garcia stands accused of drinking, getting behind the wheel of an SUV and killing Mt. Juliet couple Sean and Donna Wilson while fleeing from police last week.

Garcia and a man driving in a third vehicle also were injured in the wreck on Old Hickory Boulevard near Southfork Boulevard.

Metro General Sessions Judge Gloria Dumas bound his case over to the Davidson County grand jury after a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Garcia's past charges include four DUI arrests, evading arrest, and two separate incidents in which he was accused of leaving the scene of an accident where there was bodily injury.

Law enforcement officials could not explain yesterday how he managed to escape the attention of immigration authorities in the past.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said she would have to research Garcia's case to see if federal officials were notified of his arrests in the past.

Garcia is being held in the Metro Jail, charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and evading arrest.

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