Monday, April 09, 2007

Illegal immigrant from Mexico to plead guilty in fatal DUI case

Sheila Burke:

By pleading guilty as expected today in a Nashville courtroom, Gustavo Reyes Garcia could end the criminal case stemming from charges that his drunken driving killed two people last year.

But the court appearance is unlikely to sate the firestorm of hostility toward illegal immigrants that galvanized after his June 8, 2006, wreck on Old Hickory Boulevard.

Garcia, 29, is charged with driving drunk when his SUV slammed head-on into a sedan driven by a Mt. Juliet couple, killing them both.

After the crash, authorities revealed that Garcia — a citizen of Mexico in the U.S. illegally — had been arrested at least 14 times before, including four times for driving drunk.

The tale of government inefficiency that allowed him to remain in Tennessee after so many contacts with law enforcement fueled public outrage and changed the social landscape for other undocumented immigrants in the Midstate.

"It was the case that brought to our attention ... the flaw in the system," Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said.

A new program to check the immigration status of every foreign-born person booked into Metro Jail is expected to be fully under way next week.

Hispanic DUIs, gang crime down in 287(g)-equipped Charlotte

This Did Not Have To Happen

The Face of Illegal Immigration

Backlash Fears in Virginia Beach

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