Sun Herald

GULFPORT — A man suspected of being in the country illegally when he was in a fatal crash will be tried for leaving the scene, but he won’t be prosecuted for driving under the influence.

Results of a blood-alcohol test show Raymoundo Rojas Garcia was not intoxicated the morning his pickup collided with a motorcycle on U.S. 49 at O’Neal Road. The crash June 24, 2007, claimed the lives of Wayne Hughes, 45, and his wife, Michelle Hughes, 48. The couple lived in Saucier.

Prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office confirmed the test results after a Harrison County grand jury indicted Garcia on Jan. 14 on two counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Gulfport police were prepared to charge Garcia with felony DUI if the test showed Garcia was driving impaired.

Garcia, 27, faces up to five years in prison on each count if convicted of leaving the scene. If charged with drunken driving in a fatal crash, he would have faced five to 25 years for each death.

Garcia remains in custody on $100,000 bond, but the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a hold on him for possible violation of immigration laws.

Garcia’s connection to the crash drew criticism after it became public Gulfport police had arrested him the week before on a misdemeanor DUI. Police said Garcia didn’t have a driver’s license and they had no way of knowing whether he is in the country illegally.

Garcia’s attorney, Rufus Alldredge, said he isn’t sure of Garcia’s citizenship status.

“He speaks no English,” Alldredge said, “but that doesn’t mean he was trying to run and hide from an accident.”

The crash occurred on a sunny Sunday morning after the couple had eaten an early lunch at a restaurant. They were northbound on their Suzuki when Garcia’s southbound pickup made a left turn toward O’Neal Road.

Police have testified an off-duty state trooper stopped and instructed Garcia and his family to stand by the roadside. Garcia, his wife and their toddler were found a short distance away on Plunkett Road, a narrow street near the intersection.

“He was standing there talking on a cell phone,” Alldredge said. “Was he frightened? Was he trying to find out what to do? These are questions we’ll be trying to answer. It wasn’t like he was half a mile away. Right now, he just wants to be with his family.”

2 Responses to “Invader With Previous DUI Arrest Kills Husband And Wife”
  1. gatekeeper says:

    And our “powers that be” want these ignorant (because they don’t speak the language and don’t know what is going on around them) illegals to vote. Amazing.

  2. Mountain Man says:

    It wasn?t like he was half a mile away. Right now, he just wants to be with his family.?

    What about the familys of the two dead Americans.

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