Prosecutor: Trump's comments on fatal crash 'ghoulish'




 

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An Indiana prosecutor blasted President Donald Trump on Wednesday for politicizing the case of an immigrant charged in a drunken-driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and another man, saying his and others' comments were "ghoulish and inappropriate."

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said his office would "vigorously prosecute" the case regardless of the suspect's immigration status. Curry criticized Trump and others who cited the case as part of the nation's immigration debate, noting that "two innocent men lost their lives in this horrible incident."

Curry filed felony charges earlier in the day against the suspect, Manuel Orrego-Savala, a citizen of Guatemala who has twice been deported from the U.S. Orrego-Savala is accused of driving the pickup truck that hit Jackson and his Uber driver, 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe, early Sunday in Indianapolis.

"We are disheartened that ghoulish and inappropriate public commentary has politicized this tragedy," Curry, a Democrat, said in a statement. "Much of such commentary, including tweets by the president, fails to acknowledge that both Edwin Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe lost their lives on Sunday. We will simply seek justice on behalf of the families of those two victims."

Trump drew added attention to the case on Twitter, calling the highway collision "disgraceful," and prodded Democrats to work with him on illegal immigration and border security.

Orrego-Savala is charged with two counts each of causing death while driving intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident. The two more serious counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The 37-year-old said little during his initial court hearing Wednesday, responding through an interpreter as a judge explained the proceedings and charges. The judge set his bond at $200,000 after entering a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Investigators said Orrego-Savala was living illegally in the U.S. at the time of Sunday's crash. Late Tuesday, he was charged by federal prosecutors with illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien. He faces up to 10 years in prison in that case, which would be handled after any state charges are resolved.

His defense attorney, Jorge Torres, said Orrego-Savala's immigration status has no bearing on the drunken-driving case and questioned whether his client could get a fair trial given his immigration issues. Torres said his client has been living and doing construction work in the Indianapolis area for several years.

"He's very distraught to say the least," Torres said. "He's very confused."

Jackson's family planned no response to Trump's tweets about the crash and the suspect's immigration status, according to a family spokesman.

"We'll let the politicians do the politics while the family is just going to grieve and circle the wagons and try to heal from this tragic situation," Atlanta attorney Daniel Meachum said Tuesday. "The family is in shock, as you can imagine."

Prosecutors allege Orrego-Savala was driving the vehicle that crashed into Jackson and Monroe as the two men stood outside Monroe's car early Sunday along Interstate 70 in Indianapolis. Monroe was transporting Jackson for Uber, the ride-sharing service, and had pulled over after the 26-year-old football player became ill, investigators said.

Orrego-Savala was arrested shortly after the crash. A blood test conducted at a hospital determined he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent, more than double Indiana's legal limit for driving, according to court documents.

Orrego-Savala was deported in 2007 and again in 2009. In 2005, he was convicted for driving under the influence in Redwood City, California. He also has numerous other misdemeanor convictions and arrests in California and Indiana, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Nicole Alberico.

In the 2005 case, he pleaded no contest to two separate drunken-driving offenses and was given a brief jail sentence, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Orrego-Savala remained jailed Wednesday in Indianapolis. Federal and county prosecutors spelled his last name as "Orrego-Zavala" in charging documents, but his attorney said his name is spelled Orrego-Savala, a spelling that's listed among his aliases in the federal documents.

He appeared Tuesday before a judge who advised him of his rights. Orrego-Savala told the judge through an interpreter: "I wasn't driving the car. I don't know why I am here," Indianapolis television station WRTV reported.

A police news release did not mention the presence of anyone else in the pickup truck.

___

Associated Press writer Tom Davies contributed to this report from Indianapolis.

___

Sign up for the AP's weekly newsletter showcasing our best reporting from the Midwest and Texas: http://apne.ws/2u1RMfv

COMMENTS

More Related News

Congress releases redacted, declassified Democratic memo
Congress releases redacted, declassified Democratic memo
  • World
  • 2018-02-24 21:50:55Z

WASHINGTON (AP) - After weeks of discussions with the Justice Department, Democrats on the House intelligence committee released Saturday a classified memo that counters GOP allegations that the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

After years of dejection, proponents of gun laws see hope
After years of dejection, proponents of gun laws see hope

The progression has become numbingly repetitive - mass bloodshed unleashed by a gunman, followed by the stories of the fallen, the funerals, the mourning, the talking heads and the calls for change that ...

Trump says arm US teachers; they love kids as others don
Trump says arm US teachers; they love kids as others don't

President Donald Trump told conservatives Friday that even Second Amendment supporters can get behind steps to fight gun violence in schools, offering a red-meat call for arming teachers and suggesting ...

Trump comments points to deep divisions over arming teachers
Trump comments points to deep divisions over arming teachers

Utah teacher Kasey Hansen says carrying a concealed weapon in school is "more of a solution" than hiding in a corner and waiting if an armed intruder enters the classroom. But Texas teacher Tara ...

NRA head breaks silence to attack gun control advocates: 'They hate individual freedom'
NRA head breaks silence to attack gun control advocates: 'They hate individual freedom'

The head of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) has broken his silence more than a week after the Florida school shooting with a vituperative attack on gun control advocates, accusing them of exploiting the tragedy to push their agenda. Wayne LaPierre, whose lobby group faces an unprecedented challenge from the activism of students, including survivors of the massacre, sought to paint his opponents as "elites" and "socialists" hellbent on undermining Americans' constitutional rights.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.