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Man who indirectly caused death of Florida deputy had been deported twice before

U.S. Border Patrol

 (U.S. Border Patrol)

A man from El Salvador who indirectly caused the death of a Florida sheriff's deputy had been deported twice before, most recently in September.

During a court hearing on Monday, Francisco Portillo-Fuentes told a federal judge he wanted to plead guilty to illegally re-entering the United States but claimed his innocence in regard to Deputy Eric Oliver's death.

Oliver, a Nassau County deputy, was fatally struck by a passing SUV while he was chasing Portillo-Fuentes on foot.

The Florida Times-Union reported Portillo-Fuentes was riding in a truck with other men and when U.S. Border Patrol agents approached, he ran and deputies gave chase.

Mark Rosenblum, Portillo-Fuentes' attorney, told News4Jax that what his client did was not intentional.

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“He didn't do anything. Basically all he did, as I understood what they tell me, is that he ran away. And that to me is just human nature. It's what's called fight or flight,” the lawyer said.

Portillo-Fuentes could face up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The man had been deported in 2011 and again sometime after an Aug. 15, 2016, conviction for DUI, News4Jax reported. He has a third-grade education, is married and is the father of three children.

Records show Portillo-Fuentes returned to the U.S. by crossing the Rio Grande just three days before Oliver was killed.

With reporting by the Associated Press.

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