The Virginia man suspected in a drunken-driving crash that killed a Catholic nun in Prince William County this weekend is an illegal immigrant and repeat offender who was awaiting deportation and whom federal immigration authorities had released pending further proceedings, police said Monday.
Carlos Montano, a county resident, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving. Mr. Montano had been arrested two other times on drunken-driving charges, and on at least one of those occasions county police reported him to federal authorities.
"We have determined that he is in the country illegally. He has been arrested by Prince William County Police in the past, said police spokesman Jonathan Perok.
He said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was notified at the time of one of those arrests. "At the time of this incident, the accident yesterday, he was in the deportation process and was out on his recognizance for court proceedings."
The crash at around 8:30 Sunday morning killed Sister Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns as they were driving to a retreat at the Benedictine Monastery in Bristow, Va. The two injured nuns were in critical but stable condition late Monday, according to St. Gertrude High School in Richmond run by the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia.
Mr. Montano was being treated for injuries he received in the crash and was expected to be released from the hospital into police custody as early as Monday evening.
Messages left with ICE and the Homeland Security Department were not returned, but the incident raises questions about the agency's policy of detaining only some illegal immigrants awaiting deportation.
"I have been saying for months now that this administration's new policy of concentrating almost solely on 'criminal aliens,' and not enforcing the laws by deporting known illegal aliens, would have devastating consequences. Now, we see the tragic results this 'virtual amnesty' policy of the Obama administration has caused," said Rep. Harold Rogers of Kentucky, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee.