Uproar over illegal charged with vehicular homicide in Texas

Earlier this month, residents in Austin, Texas, where outraged to learn that a drunken illegal immigrant from Honduras -- a 23-year-old with three previous DWI arrests -- was charged with murder after ramming his SUV into a car driven by a business consultant visiting Austin.

Robert Benn, a 64-year-old Tennessean, was driving his rented Dodge Charger from Austin's airport to his hotel when he was rammed by a Lincoln Navigator driven by Jaime Alvarado. Alvarado ran a red light and hit Benn's car while being chased by police who suspected him of drunken driving.

Benn, ironically, had planned on a short visit to Austin. Just hours earlier, his third grandchild had just been born, so he was eager to return home for the joyous occasion.

Why was Alvarado -- who'd previously been deported to Honduras - able to snub his nose at the law and keep driving despite three previous DWI arrests? It's a question many in Austin have been asking.

Today's Austin American-Statesman provides some answers in a fascinating article, "Why was three-time DWI driver still driving?" It gives a blow-by-blow of how Alvarado, a construction worker, stayed one step ahead of the law and immigration authorities. One irony is that if Alvarado had been a U.S. citizen, he would have been behind bars -- and Benn would be alive -- because of his three DWI arrests and other infractions. Alvarado's status as an illegal helped him stay out of jail, however. As the Statesman notes:
Alvarado's immigration status hindered the state's case against him. He was in the country illegally and never had a driver's license. Each time he was pulled over, he provided a different name and once a different birth date.

In September 2006, he was arrested and charged as Jaime Alvarado, born Aug. 18, 1986. Two months later, he told police his name was Donnie Noel Bonilla, born Aug. 15, 1986. At one point during the court process, Alvarado gave his name as Jaime Bonilla Ontivera.

The Statesman's goes onto describe how the Texas' criminal-justice system failed to get Alvarado off the street.

Why was Alvarado living in Austin? The Statesman's doesn't say, but the city was no doubt attractive to him because of its large Hispanic population and status as an immigrant-friendly "sanctuary city."
Earlier this month, residents in Austin, Texas, where outraged to learn that a drunken illegal immigrant from Honduras -- a 23-year-old with three previous DWI arrests -- was charged with murder after ramming his SUV into a car driven by a business consultant visiting Austin.

Robert Benn, a 64-year-old Tennessean, was driving his rented Dodge Charger from Austin's airport to his hotel when he was rammed by a Lincoln Navigator driven by Jaime Alvarado. Alvarado ran a red light and hit Benn's car while being chased by police who suspected him of drunken driving.

Benn, ironically, had planned on a short visit to Austin. Just hours earlier, his third grandchild had just been born, so he was eager to return home for the joyous occasion.

Why was Alvarado -- who'd previously been deported to Honduras - able to snub his nose at the law and keep driving despite three previous DWI arrests? It's a question many in Austin have been asking.

Today's Austin American-Statesman provides some answers in a fascinating article, "Why was three-time DWI driver still driving?" It gives a blow-by-blow of how Alvarado, a construction worker, stayed one step ahead of the law and immigration authorities. One irony is that if Alvarado had been a U.S. citizen, he would have been behind bars -- and Benn would be alive -- because of his three DWI arrests and other infractions. Alvarado's status as an illegal helped him stay out of jail, however. As the Statesman notes:
Alvarado's immigration status hindered the state's case against him. He was in the country illegally and never had a driver's license. Each time he was pulled over, he provided a different name and once a different birth date.

In September 2006, he was arrested and charged as Jaime Alvarado, born Aug. 18, 1986. Two months later, he told police his name was Donnie Noel Bonilla, born Aug. 15, 1986. At one point during the court process, Alvarado gave his name as Jaime Bonilla Ontivera.

The Statesman's goes onto describe how the Texas' criminal-justice system failed to get Alvarado off the street.

Why was Alvarado living in Austin? The Statesman's doesn't say, but the city was no doubt attractive to him because of its large Hispanic population and status as an immigrant-friendly "sanctuary city."