TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Mexican man in the country illegally killed a woman and was able to flee the country after a sheriff’s office in Oregon let him go, according to federal authorities.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Alejandro Maldonado-Hernandez caused a fatal crash in Washington County, Oregon, July 12.
Maldonado-Hernandez, allegedly in the United States illegally, was transported to the local hospital with minor injuries. Patrick and Janace Ator were in the vehicle hit by Maldonado-Hernandez. Janace Ator died from her injuries while her husband was seriously injured.
Maldonado-Hernandez was arrested after he was released from the hospital. He was booked into the Washington County jail on charges of manslaughter, assault and reckless driving.
ICE said it lodged an immigration detainer on Maldonado-Hernandez July 16, but the jail allegedly ignored the detainer and released Maldonado-Hernandez Aug. 8.
By Aug. 27, the Washington County Sherriff’s Department reported Maldonado-Hernandez fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution.
“It is safer for everyone if ICE takes custody of an alien in the controlled environment of another law enforcement agency as opposed to visiting an alien’s residence, place of work, or other public area,” ICE said in a news release. “Arresting a criminal in the safety, security, and privacy of a jail is always the best option.
"When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release a criminal alien onto the streets, it negatively impacts public safety.”
Nathalie Asher, Seattle field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, said the Washington County Sheriff’s Department’s inaction was dangerous and disrespectful.
“The decision to rebuff immigration detainers and not to hold dangerous individuals until ICE arrives to pick them up is a costly one,” Asher said. “It is real slap in the face to the victims’ friends and family when criminal aliens, in this case a man who has caused the death of a woman and severe injuries to her husband, are released into the community due to dangerous sanctuary policies. How many lives have to be lost before politicians are more concerned about public safety than their own political agendas?”