Posted: Apr 8, 2013 2:26 PM by Ben Lloyd - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Apr 8, 2013 5:41 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - The driver in last month's fatal crash at the NAS Kingsville main gate has been identified as a Mexican citizen who's been deported at least once from the United States.
According to court documents, Idelfonso Garcia-Benitez was deported in March 2012 and there is record of the deportation order being reinstated since then.
Investigators say on the night of March 20, 2013, Garcia-Benitez was found pinned in the driver's seat of the mangled 1996 GMC Sierra with a beer bottle still in his lap. The crash killed 7 of the 15 illegal immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras inside the truck.
Investigators say a Kingsville police officer tried to pull over the truck when he witnessed the driver run a stop sign, but the driver sped away.
The driver ended up heading down the road for NAS Kingsville where it sped past the first checkpoint. By the time the truck reached the main gate, security officials had raised the barrier. The driver swerved to get around it, but hit the barrier in the opposite lane.
The high speed impact crushed the front end of the truck and caused at least 6 people to be ejected. All 6 were pronounced dead at the scene, while another victim died at the hospital.
Border Patrol agents who happened to be leaving the base at the time witnessed the crash. They helped the injured and provided a description of the driver to investigators so he could be identified later.
Garcia-Benitez was flown to a local hospital for treatment where state troopers took a blood sample to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs.
For now, he's charged with transporting illegal aliens and more illegally re-entering the United States.
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