A Mexican illegal alien has been charged in the death of a 14-year-old Michigan boy after he hit him while the boy was on his bicycle and then fled the scene.
Miguel A. Ibarra Cerda, an illegal alien from Mexico who only speaks Spanish and needed an interpreter to be questioned, worked as a waiter in Wixom County, Michigan. Police say he was driving a blue Honda Odyssey minivan when he hit 14-year-old Justin Lee, who was riding his friend’s bicycle.
Cerda apparently didn’t stop and left young Justin in a ditch. Lee was then transported to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries and died.
Cerda was eventually caught and stood before District Judge Travis Reeds.
According to the Detroit News:
The minivan had been driven in excess of speed limits and was on the wrong side of the road when the crash occurred, knocking Lee into a ditch, Wixom police detective Brian Cheesbro told Reeds. The teen later was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
The suspect vehicle was later recovered at a Wixom mobile home park and its driver, Cerda, was identified through tips received after police viewed video recordings that showed Cerda leaving the area in a vehicle driven by another man.
“We held a press conference and that other man contacted us and said he knew where Cerda was,” said Wixom Police Chief Ronald Moore. “He (Cerda) had called the man and said he had been involved in a crash. He didn’t tell him anything more.
“The man didn’t commit any crimes and was stunned to hear of the death,” said Moore.
Cerda was arrested without incident in Lansing on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the police press conference.
Cerda’s attorney, Alexander Hill, entered a “not guilty” plea on his behalf.
Hill said, “We acknowledge a tragedy occurred but have no further comment at this time. We believe the grieving family has a right to privacy, and we respect their loss.”
Cerda is charged with reckless driving causing death and leaving the scene of fatal accident. If found guilty, he could face fifteen years in prison, being housed, clothed and fed at the expense of taxpayers.
Officers believe the Cerda was trying to make his way back to Mexico, so Judge Reeds set a cash bond at $350,000.
The conditions of the bond are that Cerda remains in Michigan and surrender his passport.
Who is going to be keeping an eye on this guy? What difference does surrendering his passport make? He’s here illegally. Who is going to stop him from making his way to the border, north or south? Short answer: No one.
Pattie Warner-Lee, Justin’s mother, said, “We are so grateful to police for their quick work on this and making an arrest. I had just made him something to eat after school and he was returning a friend’s bike to him when this happened a couple block from our house.
“I remember him kissing me on the head before leaving the house and telling me he loved me,” she said, her lips quivering. “He was a very kind person. The kind who is so funny he could pick you up when you were at your lowest.
“One younger boy came by the house crying after hearing of Justin’s death,” she said. “He told me how Justin had stood up for him when he was bullied on the school bus. He called my son his hero.”
This was a senseless tragedy. I’m not saying Cerda intentionally hit Justin Lee, maybe he did and maybe not. According to police, he “appeared concerned and frequently bowed his head or held his face in his hands,” possibly realizing the weight of what had happened and that Justin was dead. However, had he followed US law, perhaps young Justin would be alive today.
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