A Mexican national who killed a woman in a 2005 Lawrence drunken-driving crash pleaded guilty Friday morning to a federal charge of illegally re-entering the country as convicted felon.
Adan Cruz-Santos, 29, entered the plea in front of U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia, according to court records. Originally, his trial was scheduled to begin Monday.
He was deported in February 2010 after serving prison time for involuntary manslaughter and DUI convictions. He struck and killed Jodie Hatzenbihler, a 25-year-old Olathe nurse, early in the morning of April 9, 2005, as she was crossing Sixth Street after leaving the bar Cadillac Ranch. That was his second DUI conviction.
Cruz-Santos was arrested last September again in Douglas County on suspicion of drunken driving. He gave officers an alias, Alvaro Altamino-Cortez. But prosecutors discovered he was Cruz-Santos after Eve Kemple, an assistant Douglas County district attorney, compared his current mug shot to an older one. An immigration official also interviewed him, according to his federal plea agreement. He eventually pleaded no contest to his third DUI conviction for the September traffic stop, which is a felony.
He was transferred to federal custody in December after he was sentenced in Douglas County for the most recent DUI conviction.
In his federal case, Cruz-Santos faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison plus deportation again, according to the plea agreement.