Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver were killed early Sunday morning when a car driven by an allegedly intoxicated man plowed into them on an Indianapolis interstate while they were pulled over on the shoulder. The driver, identified as Manuel Orrego-Savala, is a citizen of Guatemala; Indiana State Police said he was in the country illegally and had twice been deported.
On Tuesday, President Trump used the incident to call for tougher immigration polices.
He also sent out a sympathy tweet to Jackson’s family minutes later:
On Wednesday, the Marion County prosecutor’s office charged Orrego-Savala with two counts of failure to remain at the scene of an accident and two counts tied to drunken driving causing death, all of them felonies. After the charges were announced, Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry lambasted the president for turning the deaths of two people into a political issue.
“We are disheartened that ghoulish and inappropriate public commentary has politicized this tragedy,” Curry, a Democrat, said via the Indianapolis Star. “Much of such commentary, including tweets by the president, fails to acknowledge that both Edwin Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe lost their lives on Sunday. We will simply seek justice on behalf of the families of those two victims.”
Trump wasn’t the first politician to issue a statement decrying the incident in such a way.
“The loss of life at the hands of illegal immigrant criminals should make all Hoosiers sad and ultimately angry,” U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) said in a statement released Monday. “We must do more to get these dangerous illegal immigrant criminals off of our streets, and guarantee this never happens again by building a wall, ending sanctuary cities, and stopping illegal immigration once and for all.”
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) on Tuesday said Orrego-Savala should not have been allowed back in the country.
Jackson’s roommate, Chad Bouchez, told CBS News that Jackson would not have wanted his death to be politicized.
“Absolutely not. He would not want that,” Bouchez said. “I don’t think Edwin would have judged anyone on where they were from or anything else.”
Police say Orrego-Savala, 37, had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he crashed his Ford F-150 truck into Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe, Jackson’s Uber driver, around 4 a.m. local time Sunday. Monroe had pulled over because Jackson was feeling ill after a night on the town.
“[Jackson] actually did the right thing and he took an Uber,” Bouchez said. “He was making the right steps to get home safely and not put anyone else in harm’s way.”
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told the Indianapolis Star that Orrego-Savala first entered the country sometime in 2004. The next year, he was convicted of driving under the influence in Redwood City, Calif. Orrego-Savala then was removed from the country by ICE in both 2007 and 2009; it’s unknown when he reentered the United States and came to Indiana.
In the wake of the crash, Orrego-Savala also faces federal charges over his illegal reentry into the country as a previously deported person.
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