AURORA, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – A man in the country illegally who’s accused of killing a teenager in a drunken-driving crash in Aurora was previously held in jail but wasn’t picked up by federal immigration officials.
Ever Olivos-Gutierrez, 40, appeared in Arapahoe County Court Wednesday morning. He’s facing several charges, including first-degree murder. Prosecutors have three days to file formal charges.
According to the arrest affidavit, Olivos-Gutierrez’s blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit for a DUI. He also may have been going more than 80 miles per hour and ran a red light at the time of the crash that killed 17-year-old Juan Carlos Dominguez-Palomino of Aurora.
Prosecutors are frustrated at how an offender can fall through the cracks so many times.
“If just vehicular homicide charges are charged in this case, he could face probation out of this crime, which is unconscionable that that would be able to happen,” said Mark Hurlbert, 18th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney. “Ultimately we hope to see that he is convicted and that he spends the rest of his days in prison.”
The Aurora Sentinel reported Wednesday that Douglas County jail records show Olivos-Gutierrez was held there from Dec. 19, 2007, to Jan. 16, 2008, after turning himself in on an unspecified warrant from Otero County.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ron Hanavan said he isn’t sure exactly when immigration authorities were notified, but he said it was likely when Olivos-Gutierrez, 40, was first booked into the jail.
In a statement Tuesday night, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Carl Rusnok said the agency was contacted about Olivos-Gutierrez in December 2007 but that he wasn’t in “local custody” at the time and couldn’t be transferred to the agency as a result.
The agency is looking into Olivos-Gutierrez’s history and what happened following the 2007 arrest, he said.
Olivos-Gutierrez entered the United States legally on a visitor visa in July 2003, but the visa expired six months later, according to the immigration agency.
Olivos-Gutierrez is facing the possible first-degree murder charge in the death of Dominguez-Palomino early Monday on Colfax Avenue. Olivos-Gutierrez, who was injured in the crash, appeared in court Wednesday handcuffed to a wheelchair and declined to speak. He’s currently being treated for his injuries while in custody at the jail.
Dominguez-Palomino’s family carried a picture of their loved one in and out of court. They faced the picture toward the suspect during the hearing.
Olivos-Gutierrez was also arrested on DUI charges in Douglas County in 2000 and El Paso County in 2001, Aurora police said. He was ticketed for driving without a license in the city in 2002.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now and you still scratch your head that somebody would do this, that somebody would be driving the way they were driving, that would be driving drunk on the streets of where we live,” Hurlbert said.
Immigrants living illegally in Colorado were previously barred from getting driver’s licenses, but they are now allowed to get them under a bill passed by state lawmakers last year.
Olivos-Gutierrez will be back in court on Monday.
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