A Mexican national accused of re-entering the country illegally after killing a woman in a 2005 Lawrence drunken-driving crash faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
Douglas County District Judge Kay Huff Thursday ordered Adan Cruz-Santos, 29, to be transferred to federal custody after she sentenced him to three months in jail for his third DUI conviction involving an Aug. 21 traffic stop in Lawrence. Cruz-Santos has spent more than 90 days in jail since his August arrest in the new Douglas County case.
Cruz-Santos was deported in February 2010 after serving prison time for an involuntary manslaughter and DUI conviction. He struck and killed Jodie Hatzenbihler, a 25-year-old nurse from Olathe, early on April 9, 2005, as she was walking across Sixth Street after leaving Cadillac Ranch, 2515 W. Sixth St. The 2005 fatality was his second DUI conviction.
“What I find particularly egregious is not the fact that he re-entered the United States but the fact that he continued to get behind the wheel while he was very intoxicated,” Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Eve Kemple said after Thursday’s sentencing.
Hatzenbihler’s family members watched Thursday’s hearing as Cruz-Santos, through interpreter James Calderon, apologized for all three DUI convictions.
“I think I really have a problem with alcohol,” he said. “I think this time I’m really going to have to do this program for alcohol to rehabilitate myself.”
Kemple said she and Hatzenbihler’s family members were still skeptical of his words. She said Cruz-Santos’ blood-alcohol level was well above the legal limit after his August traffic stop in which he gave police an alias, Alvaro Altamirano Cortez.
“How is it after you kill someone doing this — if that doesn’t shock you and wake you up to change your life, what will?” Kemple said.
He pleaded no contest Oct. 27 in the new Douglas County case, and a federal grand jury then indicted Cruz-Santos on one count of illegally re-entering the country after he was convicted of a felony.
Hatzenbihler’s family members plan to ask federal prosecutors to push for the 10-year maximum federal prison sentence.
Kemple is credited with discovering Cruz-Santos was the same man convicted for Hatzenbihler’s death because he was arrested in August under the alias. His real name came up under an ID number on some documentation so she compared his current mug shot to an older one. Prosecutors also confirmed his identity through a finger-print analysis, she said. The federal indictment charges him under both names. No hearings have been set yet in the federal case.
Huff also ordered Cruz-Santos to pay a $2,500 fine for his third DUI conviction.