Tennessee officials are searching for a suspect in a hit-and-run that left a woman dead, noting that he has a lengthy criminal history including being in the country illegally.
Juan Francisco, 54, is accused of slamming into Debbie Burgess with his vehicle on April 8, killing her. He then fled the scene.
Francisco has a string of convictions, including driving under the influence in 2017 and reckless driving in 2004. The Department of Homeland Security told WLVT that Francisco’s immigration status has not changed since he was arrested in 2002 with theft.
It wasn’t clear if Francisco was deported after any of his convictions.
KPD Officers are investigating a hit and run fatality involving a pedestrian in the 3600 block of Pleasant Ridge Rd. The road will be completely closed down with an estimated reopening time of 7:30 am.
— Knoxville Police TN (@Knoxville_PD) April 8, 2019
The theft conviction came after Francisco forged another man’s name on a Tennessee driver’s license and Social Security card, reported the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Illegal immigrants regularly steal or fake driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers. For example, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released in 2017, illegal immigrants steal hundreds of thousands of legal identities to gain employment.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was assisting local law enforcement in the search for Francisco, it said on April 16.
Illegal Immigrant Driving Without a License Hits, Kills 13-Year-Old
A woman who slammed into a 13-year-old girl riding her bike to school, killing the girl, was driving without a driver’s license, Florida officials said on April 3.
Micaela Coronel, 25, a native of Argentina, hit Mariana Pérez Borroto, in Kissimmee on April 3.
Mariana was riding her bicycle to Lake Marion Creek Middle School, where she was attending in eighth grade.
Coronel told Polk County Sheriff’s deputies that she was in the United States on a “visitor pass” as of October 2018 and presented an Argentine identification card.
“She does not have a Florida driver’s license, and deputies determined through their investigation that she does not have a valid driver’s license at all,” the sheriff’s office stated.
At the time of the crash, condensation covered about four-fifths of Coronel’s windshield, obstructing her view, according to deputies.
“This suspect should not have even been behind the wheel of a vehicle. This is an awful, senseless tragedy that should never have occurred,” said Sheriff Judd in a statement. “This beautiful child should be turning 14 years old in just two weeks, but for this suspect’s illegal actions. Mariana’s family and friends are in our prayers.”
Judd told reporters at a news conference the day after the crash that Coronel was in the country illegally on an expired work visa, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The agency has placed a detainer on the woman, meaning when she is released either with or without a conviction and sentence, she will be deported.
Sheriff Judd is briefing the media about the arrest of 25-year-old Micaela Coronel, who hit and killed a 13-year-old Poinciana girl who was riding her bike to Lake Marion Creek Middle School on Wednesday morning, April 3rd. Click here to read the news release: bit.ly/2IgZCv1
Posted by Polk County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, April 4, 2019
“Nothing is going to bring that beautiful 13-year-old girl back to her family,” Judd said. “She should have been celebrating her 14th birthday in a few weeks, but she won’t.”
“She’s here illegally, she’s operating a motor vehicle illegally, and she runs over a child. This simply wouldn’t have happened if she was in her country of origin, Argentina,” Judd added of Coronel. “Here’s one more example of someone illegally in this country clearly violating the law. There is no excuse.”
Coronel was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license causing death.