UPDATE: ICE- Driver in fatal crash illegal alien
July 28, 2009
CONROE- CONROE- The unlicensed, uninsured driver of a pickup involved in a deadly head-on collision on FM 3083 on Sunday has also been identified as an illegal alien. There was some question initially because officers on-scene saw that 34-year-old Carlos Gomez-Solis of Conroe had a Mexican Consulate ID card on his person. However, prosecutor Warren Diepraam said those cards are obtained by Mexican nationals through their government and are no indication of immigrant status. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed a hold on Gomez-Solis, meaning if he is able to post bond, he will not be released because he is an illegal alien. Gomez-Solis will eventually be deported. If convicted, he will serve his sentence first and if he is found not guilty, the ICE deportation process will begin immediately.
Gomez-Solis was booked on criminally negligent homicide, which is a third-degree felony. However, that charge was upgraded on Monday to manslaughter, a second-degree felony. Diepraam said the charge was changed after Sgt. Terry Barnhill, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, visited the DA’s Office on Monday morning and presented them with additional evidence.
Diepraam said the difference in the two charges was dependent upon whether the person engaging in the activity that caused a death did not realize the danger at the time, or whether they knew their actions were dangerous and chose to engage in them anyway.
Diepraam joined Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon’s team in February and is considered a tremendous asset because, among other accomplishments, Diepraam is credited with pioneering the “No Refusal Weekend” concept, as well as spearheading the effort to bring murder charges against repeat DWI offenders who kill, instead of prosecuting them on the lesser charge of intoxication manslaughter. He feels the more aggressive prosecution in place since Ligon took office is having a definite deterrent effect.
The Sunday crash marked Montgomery County’s second incident in just over a week involving an unlicensed, uninsured, illegal alien allegedly disregarding Texas traffic laws, resulting in the death of a US citizen.
Conroe woman killed in crash with immigrant
By Jamie Nash, July 27, 2009
Another unlicensed, uninsured Hispanic immigrant killed a local woman and injured her child passenger between Conroe and Grangerland on Sunday afternoon, authorities said. Some facts of the crash will likely anger already upset family and friends of another recent accident victim because of similar factors.
The crash occurred between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. on FM 3083 at Willis Waukegan Rd. (east side) and Texaco Rd. (west side) when a southbound Ford 150 pickup driven by 34-year-old Carlos Gomez-Solis of Conroe passed in a curve (a no passing zone) and collided head-on with a northbound Toyota Corolla driven by Dorothy Ann Gardner of Conroe, according Sgt. Terry Barnhill with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
After a lengthy extrication by the Grangerland Fire Department, medics transported Gardner to a nearby landing zone where a PHI air ambulance was to take her to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. However, she went into traumatic arrest while being loaded onto the helicopter. Medics transported Gardner to Conroe Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.
Her 9-year-old female passenger was transported by ground ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with non-life threatening injuries. Gomez-Solis was not injured.
DPS took Gomez-Solis into custody and transported him to Conroe Regional for a mandatory blood draw to determine whether he was intoxicated. He is charged with criminally negligent homicide. Gomez-Solis’ immigrant status was unknown as of this writing, but Barnhill said it would be checked when the suspect was booked into the Montgomery County Jail. That information will be updated when it is available.
Dorothy Garner would have turned 68 on Wednesday.
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon responded to the scene personally, as part of his administration’s policy of having a representative on the scene of fatalities that are expected to be the focus of a prosecution.
Ironically, Sunday’s fatal crash occurred a few miles south of Thirsty’s Ice House where a benefit was held on Saturday to assist Kathy Dahl with her husband Rex Dahl’s funeral expenses. After Rex Dahl left the bar he and his wife owned last Saturday night, an unlicensed uninsured illegal Hispanic immigrant failed to yield the right of way, turning his passenger car in front of Dahl’s motorcycle and causing the collision that killed Dahl. The other driver, 34-year-old Cesar Sanchez, fled on foot, but was soon arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide and failure to stop and render aid. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold was placed on Sanchez meaning he will eventually be deported.
Some of those gathered at Thirsty’s both after the funeral and at the fundraiser on Saturday wore t-shirts from a benefit last year with similar circumstances. The black shirts had large white blocks with black letters on the back that read, “Speak English.”
Alfredo Ceron-Esquivel, 27, of New Waverly was charged with driving while intoxicated, accident involving damage to vehicle greater than $200 and a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on him.