’He’s going to come back and do it again and kill somebody’
WorldNetDaily.com, Mar. 3
An illegal immigrant pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants for the fourth time in four years.
Andres Lopez-Cortes, 31, has been deported at least once to Mexico, but returned to the Seattle area where he slammed into a car driven by a 17-year-old who was stopped at a traffic light Dec. 31, the local King County Journal reported. The teenager, Paul Conley, suffered whiplash.
Lopez-Cortes also pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of hit-and-run driving. A judge in Auburn, Wash., fined him $5,000, but suspended $3,500, and ordered him to pay court costs and restitution for damages to the car and medical bills, the Journal said.
Federal immigration officials have been notified about the case, but Auburn officials said they didn’t know what immigration action might be taken.
Illegal immigrants convicted in a U.S. court generally serve their sentences before any deportation action is considered, according to immigration officials.
Marie Sebrechts, a spokeswoman for the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, said she couldn’t speculate on whether Lopez-Cortes might be deported again, the Seattle-area paper reported.
When considering deportation, illegal immigrants with multiple illegal entries generally are given highest priority, immigration officials said.
Lopez-Cortes was arrested for driving under the influence in July 1998, April 1999, July 2000 and May 2002, court records show. He received a one-year jail sentence after his May 2002 arrest.
Despite being an illegal immigrant, Lopez-Cortes apparently had a driver’s license. In addition to his four arrests, he had been cited four times for driving with a suspended license.
He had no insurance, however, and Conley had no coverage for uninsured drivers.
Conley told the Journal he doubts he will be reimbursed for the more than $2,000 it will cost to repair his customized car.
“Besides the loss of my car, I have back pain now, and I have no idea how long I’ll be having back pain,” he said. “I don’t think it’s really fair at all.”
Conley’s mother, Patricia Matthews, said she’s mad “the system” didn’t handle Lopez-Cortes properly.
“This is going to be the kind of situation that’s going to continue,” she told the paper. “My concern is that he’s going to come back and do it again and kill somebody.”