Police believe suspect in double-fatal crash in Jeffersontown was in country illegally
Police say they believe Juan Carlos Ortega-Santos was in the country illegally when he drove a vehicle without a license and under the influence Tuesday night, resulting in the death of two young people.
JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jeffersontown Police provided new information Thursday afternoon about a man facing two counts of murder after police say he plowed into four young people on Taylorsville Road who were standing in the bike lane Tuesday night, killing two.
Including the fact that they believe the suspect was in the United States illegally.
Juan Carlos Ortega-Santos, age 26, appeared in court Thursday morning, charged with murder, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, assault and wanton endangerment. Police say Tuesday night he was driving in the right lane of Taylorsville Road, when he veered into the bike lane where four children were standing.
Ten-year-old Alena Clay and 16-year-old Tyeisha Lacy were both killed.
During a Thursday afternoon news conference Jeffersontown Police Chief Ken Hatmaker told reporters that Ortega-Santos worked for the Wild Eggs restaurant, and that law enforcement believes he was an undocumented immigrant.
"I do not believe him to be in the country legally," Hatmaker said, adding that federal authorities had placed a detainer on him.
He said authorities believe Ortega-Santos is a flight risk.
One reporter asked Hatmaker to explain how Ortega-Santos could be employed at Wild Eggs if he is an undocumented immigrant.
"That would be a question for Wild Eggs," Hatmaker said. "It does raise concerns though."
Later in the afternoon, Wild Eggs released a statement:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Tyeisha Lacy and Alena Clay as they are going through this difficult time.
We confirm that Juan Carlos Ortega-Santos was an employee of Wild Eggs and presented proper documentation as required.
Wild Eggs has and continues to follow state and federal guidelines when hiring new employees.
Hatmaker reiterated that Ortega-Santos' blood alcohol content after the crash was recorded as .200. He said his car was severely damaged after the crash, due to the severe force of the impact.
"The front of the car was demolished," Hatmaker said. "The bumper was gone, drug under the car...as well as the passenger's headlight."
Despite claims that Ortega-Santos made to officers that he didn't realize what had happened, Hatmaker says it's clear that wasn't the case.
"I believe he did," Hatmaker said, adding that one of the four young people at the scene said that after the crash, Ortega-Santos, "stopped, looked back, and then took off."
Hatmaker says he doesn't believe Ortega-Santos has ever had a driver's license.
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