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A suspected illegal alien from Mexico is being held in the Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $500,000 after running a red light and broadsiding a family of six, killing three, on Christmas Eve.
Carlos Prieto was arraigned this morning and charged with three counts of automobile homicide, three counts of driving under the influence and driving without a license. The charging documents say his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit, KSL-TV of Salt Lake City, reported.
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.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the police affidavit filed at the jail said Prieto smelled strongly of alcohol and had glassy, bloodshot eyes at the accident scene and admitted he had been drinking prior to driving that night. Jail records indicate Prieto has at least two previous drunken driving arrests.
A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency has interviewed Prieto and suspects he is in the U.S. illegally but declined to reveal what he told investigators.
The Cerans are no strangers to grief, having lost three children to a rare brain cancer and two to premature births over the past several years.
Gary Ceran has said he is leaning on his faith to deal with this tragedy and to extend forgiveness to Prieto.
“He has to endure all the pain that I have to endure, plus knowing that he was the cause of it,” says Ceran. “I have hundreds of people coming to visit and thousands of people praying for me. But who’s praying for him?”
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:
Marine Cpl. Brian Mathews
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.
Jorge Humberto Hernandez-Soto
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
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. Courtesy Yakima Herald Republic
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.
Pastor Rios Sanchez
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 bids farewell to husband in court (courtesy Chattanoogan)
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.
As WND has reported, the mayhem on America’s highways isn’t limited to illegals who drive only while intoxicated.
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.