Denis Motherway, an 85-year-old retired NYPD officer, died tragically late Sunday night. He was being taken to a local Long Island, New York, hospital from a rehab center in an ambulette. In middle of the ride, while the vehicle had its lights and sirens on, a drunk driver crashed into the ambulette with his 1997 Cadillac STS, turning the vehicle on its side and killing Motherway. The suspect, Alvaro Gutierrez-Garcia, was charged with vehicular manslaughter, two counts of driving while intoxicated and one count of aggravated DWI for drinking and driving over twice the legal limit.
This tragic story has made its rounds in local media around New York City. It’s especially tragic because, according to the local NBC affiliate that interviewed one of his children, one of Motherway’s other sons was also killed by a drunk driver in 2009. What was not reported, however, in a single publication, is that this crime was even more awful because it was 100 percent avoidable if our immigration laws had been fully enforced. Gutierrez-Garcia is an illegal alien.
“On Sept. 4, ICE lodged a detainer with the Nassau County Correctional Center on Alvaro Gutierrez Garcia, an illegally present Salvadoran national, after his arrest on multiple felony charges, including vehicular homicide,” said ICE spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow in response to an inquiry from CR regarding his immigration status. “ICE will seek to take custody of Gutierrez Garcia at the conclusion of his criminal proceedings.”
First, New York has become a sanctuary, which attracts illegal aliens to come and remain in New York with the full confidence that they will not be deported. The NYPD has denied nearly 3,000 detainer requests on criminal aliens just from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. Many of them are repeat drunk drivers. Nassau County, in particular, has asked ICE to leave its jails so they can’t monitor the immigration status of those arrested to ensure that no deportable alien is released to re-offend.
Second, New York just passed a law offering driver’s licenses for illegal aliens and prohibiting county clerks from asking for or disclosing immigration status, which is in direct violation of federal law. Garcia was clearly a recipient of such a license, because a judge just suspended it at the arraignment this week.
A new Harvard/Harris poll shows that 72 percent of registered voters nationwide oppose granting licenses to illegal aliens, yet neither branch of the federal government has taken any steps to enforce federal law.
Finally, how many of these avoidable tragic deaths will it take to spawn a national discussion over illegal immigrants and drunk driving? There is clearly a cultural problem that is making illegal alien DUIs so prevalent. Just in one year of apprehensions with very limited resources, ICE arrested a pool of aliens who together racked up 80,730 DUIs, not including over 76,000 other driving offenses. Remember, many illegal aliens live in sanctuary jurisdictions, and ICE often doesn’t know about those arrested for DUIs, especially if they don’t result in a fatality or if the person is a first-timer who has no records with DHS.
Even the Huffington Post ran an article in 2014 noting that Hispanic people were at greater risk of dying from drunk driving. The article cites a 2010 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that found that Hispanics are “less likely” to believe that driving while intoxicated is a “safety problem” or that they will be caught in the act. Also, the Texas Department of Transportation reported that “10,607 Latino drivers were involved in alcohol-related crashes in 2009, and the nearly 200 that died represent 31 percent of all DWI driver fatalities in the state.”
An April 2010 NHTSA report addressing the problem of drunk driving among Hispanics noted that “many in the Latino community have not absorbed the message that drinking and driving is dangerous.” They report that “research has shown that Latino adolescents are at a greater risk of driving after drinking and are nearly twice as likely to ride with drinking drivers than non-Latinos.” Another report noted, “In 2002, motor vehicle traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for Latinos age 3 to 8, 11, 14 to 34, and 37.” Yet another report states that in 2009, “nearly one third” of those killed in alcohol-related crashes in Colorado were Hispanic. At the time, Hispanics composed less than 20 percent of the state’s population.
This problem is clearly overrepresented among illegal aliens who happen to be largely from Latin American countries. These individuals never should have been here or been incentivized by sanctuaries to remain here when our laws say that they must not be shielded from detection. By definition, every drunk driving accident caused by an illegal alien – and there are many – is avoidable if the federal government enforces the laws on the books.
As Congress prepares for an acerbic debate over how to avoid gun crimes, you won’t hear any mention of Denis Motherway and the need to enforce existing immigration law to prevent the thousands upon thousands of illegal alien drunk-driving incidents that result in thousands of deaths and endless uncompensated property damage. A machine traveling at high speeds with 3,000 pounds of steel is every bit as dangerous as a gun.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.