Archive for Sunday, March 26, 2006

Fatal accident may involve illegal immigrants

March 26, 2006

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— One man was killed and another seriously injured when a pickup lost control on snow-packed roads in Harvey County and struck a minivan carrying 12 people, apparently from Mexico, officials said.

Javier Ordonez-Diaz, 26, was killed Thursday when a pickup struck the van he was driving head-on, about five miles west of Halstead, Kansas Highway Patrol Capt. Alan Stoecklein said. Most passengers in the van were taken to Newton Medical Center, while the driver of the truck, 20-year-old Dustyn L. Morgan, of Walton, was taken to Wesley Medical Center.

The van's occupants were all male, ages 16 to 47, and gave addresses in Mexico, according to the Highway Patrol crash log.

Sheriff Byron Motter said two immigration enforcement agents were at the Harvey County Jail in Newton on Thursday, interviewing four of the van passengers who had been released from the hospital.

Motter said if the passengers are found to be illegal, they would be taken to Wichita. "What they do from there, I don't know," he said.

Immigration officials were not available for comment.

It was the third time in about a month authorities have investigated traffic incidents involving vehicles carrying a dozen or more illegal or possibly illegal immigrants.

In March, a truck carrying 12 people illegally was stopped in Sedgwick County, but the occupants were released when immigration officials said they didn't have the jail space to process them.

In February, a pickup truck with 19 illegal immigrants rolled into a ditch, killing three. The driver - Fernando Tello Del Pilar, 22, of Veracruz, Mexico - was charged with one count of unlawfully transporting illegal aliens for private gain during which a death occurred, one count of transporting during which serious injury resulted, a count of making a false statement to a federal agent and one count of identity theft.

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