The Washington Post

Illegal immigrant involved in fatal Fairfax crash

A Fairfax County man died Monday night after his car was forced into oncoming traffic near Fort Belvoir by a repeat drunk driver who had previously been deported for entering the country illegally, authorities said Tuesday.

Carlos Sanchez-Ramos, 33, was charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter and other counts. The victim was identified as Paul J. Krause, 54, of Glenbarr Court in Fairfax Station.

After the crash, police said, Sanchez-Ramos climbed out of the car with a 3-year-old boy and fled. Police arrested him a short distance away on Route 1.

Court records indicate that his blood-alcohol content was roughly twice the legal definition of intoxication. Sanchez-Ramos, who lives on Grandview Court in the Springfield area, was previously convicted of drunken driving.

Immigration officials identified the man as Carlos Lagos Ramos and said he had been deported to his native Honduras in January 2004. At some point after that, Ramos reentered the country illegally, Cori W. Bassett, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday.

In November 2007, Fairfax police arrested him after a single-car accident, according to court records, and charged him under the name “Sanchez-Ramos” with drunken driving.

But the Fairfax jail did not automatically check his immigration status, as it does now for prisoners, with fingerprints through ICE’s Secure Communities program, and he was released.

In addition to Krause’s death, a husband and wife, ages 77 and 73, suffered serious injuries when their Mercedes was struck head on by Krause’s car, police said. They remained hospitalized Tuesday but are expected to survive.

The 3-year-old boy with Sanchez-Ramos was not injured. Police said they did not know if the boy is his son. A 31-year-old man who was a passenger in Sanchez-Ramos’s car also was not hurt and did not flee the scene.

Krause was driving a 2010 Ford Fusion north on Route 1 (Richmond Highway), between Telegraph Road and Fairfax County Parkway, about 5:22 p.m., Officer Tawny Wright said. Police said Sanchez-Ramos, driving a 1994 Honda Civic in the same direction, apparently lost control of the Civic and struck the Fusion.

The Fusion then veered into the southbound lanes and was struck head on by a 2010 Mercedes Benz, police said. Krause was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:44 p.m.

His family declined to comment Tuesday.

Sanchez-Ramos was charged with having a blood-alcohol content of between 0.15 and 0.20, roughly twice the legal definition of intoxication in Virginia, which is 0.08. In addition to his second driving-while-intoxicated charge within five years, Sanchez-Ramos also was charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter, driving on an alcohol-related revoked license, child endangerment and two counts of felony hit and run.

Court records show that in his previous drunk-driving arrest, Sanchez-Ramos was charged with having a blood-alcohol content between 0.15 and 0.20. The breathalyzer sheet shows that Sanchez-Ramos recorded a 0.16 on Nov. 22, 2007. The charge carried a mandatory minimum five-day jail sentence. But prosecutors agreed to reduce the blood-alcohol content to 0.14, eliminating the jail time.

Sanchez-Ramos pleaded guilty to two charges in January 2008. He was given a 60-day jail sentence on the drunken-driving charge, with all time suspended, a fine of $300 and court costs of $182, a fairly standard sentence in Fairfax for first-time drunk drivers. He was also fined $250, and $11 in court costs, for failing to have a license. He paid the $743 in April 2009.

Immigration officials said the man they know as Lagos Ramos entered the country “without inspection” in September 2003, was apparently picked up shortly after that and ordered deported by an immigration judge in November 2003. He was removed to Honduras in January 2004, Bassett said.

On Monday night, ICE lodged a detainer for his arrest after his case in Fairfax is resolved.

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.


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