An illegal immigrant DUI suspect who was set free after allegedly plowing into a California home, killing three family members while they slept, was taken into custody by federal immigration officials Tuesday, easing the nerves of neighbors who feared the suspect had skipped town.
Prior to the arrest, neighbors were furious that Ismael Huazo-Jardinez, 33, had been released on bail.
Huazo-Jardinez was first arrested Saturday night in the rural community of Knights Landing near Sacramento. The California Highway Patrol said Huazo-Jardinez was intoxicated and speeding when the truck he was driving missed a sharp curve and slammed into a family's live-in trailer.
A CHP investigator met with family members Monday outside the mobile home where the accident killed Jose Pacheco, 38, Anna Pacheco, 34, and their son Angel Pacheco, 10. The Pachecos' 11-year-old daughter remained in critical condition.
“As soon as he came out of that vehicle, he was so intoxicated I could smell the alcohol from 10 feet away,” Steven Bravo, a neighbor, told Sacramento's KCRA-TV. Bravo was one of the first people at the crash site Saturday.
Neighbors said they were outraged to find that Huazo-Jardinez was released from Sutter County Jail on Sunday after posting $300,000 bail. A California judge denied a plea from the California Highway Patrol to set the bail at $1 million or set no bail.
“I think he should be held accountable for the three lives that he took and the little girl who is now an orphan,” neighbor Mary Ann Mason said, wondering if Huazo-Jardinez would miss his court date.
“I don’t like it because now he has the option to run,” another neighbor, Debra Franklin added. “He has nothing to lose by running.”
The mobile home next to the Pacheco family trailer belonged to the grandparents of Mariana and Angel Pacheco, KCRA reported. That residence has been condemned because it was too badly damaged in the accident. The grandparents are forced to find another place to live.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Paul Prince said Ismael Huazo-Jardinez, 33, is from Mexico and entered the U.S. illegally, FOX 40 of Sacramento reported. The suspect had returned to Mexico voluntarily after being arrested in Arizona eight years ago, but ICE does not know when he returned to the U.S., FOX 40 reported.
Prince said Huazo-Jardinez will remain in federal custody until his immigration status is determined.
He was previously convicted of reckless driving and had several traffic citations, but no major criminal history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.