An illegal alien who entered the United States from Mexico seven times was driving drunk and speeding on a Nebraska interstate when he crashed his van last week, killing a passenger seated in the back of the vehicle.
According to Douglas County prosecutors, Nemias Garcia-Velasco, 32, was deported in 2009 and 2011 and “voluntarily returned” to Mexico five times in 2005—the year he was convicted of making a false claim to U.S. citizenship.
Following the in-court request by prosecutor Ryan Lindberg for a high bail for Garcia-Velasco, the judge set the amount at $2 million. Lindberg argued that Garcia-Velasco might flee the country again.
“If this is someone who bonds out, I don’t think we’ll see Mr. Garcia-Velasco again,” Lindberg said.
Officials reported that Garcia-Velasco was speeding on a highway in Omaha at about 1 p.m. last Wednesday when he lost control of his van and collided with a guard rail before the vehicle rolled over and caught fire.
Passenger Silvano Torres, 58, who was not secured by a seatbelt while riding in the back of the van, died in the crash. Torres’ girlfriend told the Omaha World Herald that Torres had documents that allowed him to be in U.S. and that he was the father of three children.
Another passenger, Jesus I. Gonzalez, 16, was transported to a hospital and released later on Wednesday.
Following the crash, Garcia-Velasco told police that he drank 12 beers the night before and into the morning of the wreck. His reported blood-alcohol level was .243, three times the legal limit of .08.
After being treated for severe burns, Garcia-Velasco was released from the hospital and booked into jail. He faces charges of motor vehicle homicide, driving under the influence and operating without a driver’s license, and could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
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