Undocumented immigrant sentenced in drunk driving crash that killed Colts player

The undocumented immigrant charged in connection with the February 2018 crash that killed Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson has been sentenced to 3½ years in federal prison.

Manuel Orrego-Zavala received a 42-month sentence Monday for a felony conviction of illegal re-entry of a previously removed alien. Orrego-Zavala’s federal sentence will run consecutively to the 16-year sentence he is currently serving for a state court conviction of causing death when operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Orrego-Zavala, a native of Guatemala, was in the United States illegally on Feb. 4, 2018, and was driving westbound on Interstate 70 when he swerved and struck Jackson and his rideshare driver, Jeffrey Monroe. Jackson and Monroe had pulled over because Jackson was ill, and the two were standing alongside the highway when Orrego-Zavala’s vehicle struck them.

“Mr. Orrego-Zavala has accepted responsibility for his actions in this case and accepts the Court’s sentence,” his attorney, Mario Garcia of Brattain Minnix Garcia in Indianapolis, wrote in an email to Indiana Lawyer.

According to the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, Orrego-Zavala had previously been removed from the U.S. in 2007 and in May 2009. Prior to his 2007 removal, he had been convicted in California of two drug crimes.

“Mr. Orrego-Zavala re-entered the country illegally for the second time before he put the public safety of Indianapolis at risk and took the lives of two innocent men on February 4, 2018,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said in a statement. “This prosecution represents our office’s commitment to charging aliens that illegally re-enter the country, especially if they are a risk to public safety or there is a criminal history present.”

According to the Monday court entry, Orrego-Zavala must pay a $100 special assessment. He will also serve two years of supervised release.

Among the terms of his supervised release is a requirement that Orrego-Zavala “surrender as directed to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” He will also be subjected to the requirement that he “obtain the proper documentation from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorizing (him) to work in the United States.”

“If you are released from the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for any reason, you shall report to the nearest U.S. Probation Officer within 72 hours of your release,” the entry also says. “… If released from confinement, not deported, or removed, or you re-enter the United States, you shall report to the nearest probation office within 72 hours.”

Garcia did not respond to questions about if/when his client will have to surrender to ICE, what action might be brought against him by the federal immigration agency, or whether any immigration action has already begun pursuant to the state conviction.

Online Department of Correction records indicate Orrego-Zavala is being housed in “Out-of-state Facilities.” Garcia did not respond when asked to clarify where his client is currently located.

On the federal sentence, Magnus-Stinson recommended that he be placed in the Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill. She also recommended that he be placed in the Spanish-language version of the Bureau of Prison’s Residential Drug Abuse Program.

In a news release, Minkler said the prosecution of Orrego-Zavala underscores his office’s “firm commitment to utilize and partner with law enforcement agencies to prosecute illegal immigration cases,” pursuant to the USAO October 2017 strategic plan. The case was investigated by Indiana State Police and Department of Homeland Security.

“This individual’s criminal and immigration histories clearly demonstrate a total disregard for U.S. law,” special agent in charge James M. Gibbons said in a statement. “Let this sentence serve as a reminder that Homeland Security Investigations prioritize the prosecution of those who are intent on disrespecting our laws and putting the community at risk.”

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