A Mexican national charged in the hit-and-run death of a Colorado grandmother was in the United States illegally. He had also been previously deported multiple times and had been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving just days before, law enforcement officials say.
Last week in Denver, Colorado, 51-year-old Annette Conquering Bear was killed in a hit-and-run collision while she was crossing the street on the way back from a Walgreens store near her apartment. On Monday, the Denver district attorney’s office announced formal charges against 39-year-old Juan Sanchez for leaving the scene of a deadly accident and vehicular homicide.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told KUSA-TV Monday in a written statement that the suspect “is an ICE enforcement priority” with multiple previous removals from the United States spanning almost two decades. ICE says federal officials removed Sanchez two times in 2002, three times in 2008, and once again in 2012.
The KUSA report also explains that that just four days prior to the accident that killed Conquering Bear, Sanchez had previously been arrested on suspicion of DUI but released after booking because he was “uncooperative,” even though a breath test reportedly showed that his blood alcohol level was over twice the legal limit. “Sanchez refused to sit down on the booking bench,” and at one point he he “began laying down on the floor [of a jail cell] refusing to listen to any orders,” a police report says. ICE says that, in that instance, the suspect was released from custody before ICE could even lodge a detainer on him.
Now, ICE told KUSA, the agency has issued a detainer requesting that it “be given timely and specific notification before [Sanchez] is released from local custody for any reason.”
Conquering Bear was a mother of six and a grandmother of five and died just before her 52nd birthday, according to an obituary.
“I wanted to run past the tape, but you can’t. It’s a crime scene,” Daryle Conquering Bear told KDVR-TV about the scene of his mother’s untimely death. “The officer removed part of it and I seen the top of her head and I knew that was her. There’s nothing you can do.”