The undocumented immigrant accused in the death of an NFL player in a fatal car accident is now facing federal immigration charges.
The Justice Department announced late Tuesday that it has charged 37-year-old Manuel Orrego-Zavala with illegally re-entering the U.S. after two prior deportations.
Orrego-Zavala is accused of hitting Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson, 26, and his Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe, 54, while driving drunk on a highway early Sunday morning.
Indianapolis State Police revealed shortly after the accident that Orrego-Zavala, a Guatemalan citizen, is in the country illegally and that he had been deported from the U.S. twice – once in 2007 and again in 2009. He has a prior conviction for driving under the influence in California.
Orrego-Zavala has not yet been formally charged in the crash that killed Jackson and Monroe, but is due for an initial court appearance on Wednesday, the Indianapolis Star reported.
The immigration charges against Orrego-Zavala are pending until the conclusion of any state prosecution.
In announcing the federal immigration charges against Orrego-Zavala, Josh Minkler, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, cited a directive from Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law New immigration policy leaves asylum seekers in the lurch MORE instructing prosecutors to prioritize charges against immigrants who illegally re-enter the U.S.
“The defendant in this case allegedly 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 early Sunday morning,” Minkler said in a statement.
“Following the rule of law is the foundation of our American democracy, and my office is committed to fulfilling the Attorney General’s directive,” he added.