Suspect In Weekend DUI Accident In Federal Custody

Tuesday, March 27th 2007, 8:14 pm
By: News On 6

The suspect in a weekend DUI collision is now in federal custody. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, or ICE, picked the man up Tuesday morning and are now holding him in Oklahoma City. News On 6 anchor Omar Villafranca reports the case has people asking why ICE officers picked up Lopez while other suspected illegal immigrants in other cases were not held.

Tulsa Police say Jose Juan Lopez ran a red light and crashed into another car seriously injuring a 2-year-old boy. Police arrested Lopez for driving under the influence, failure to yield at the light, and not having a driver’s license. During the investigation, Lopez told police he was in the U.S. illegally.

Tulsa Police say once a suspect is under arrest, if they think the person is in the U.S. illegally, they can call an ICE official. If ICE officers say the suspect doesn't have any warrants, he'll stay in police custody. Tulsa Police say they are not federal agents, and can't enforce immigration laws.

In Lopez's case, he admitted to police he was in the U.S. illegally. When Tulsa Police officers called ICE to check for other warrants, ICE officers left him to Tulsa Police. Lopez was booked and later posted bail. It wasn't until later that ICE officers picked up Lopez and took him to Oklahoma City.

There is an immigration bill in the Oklahoma House right now that could affect the current law, but the mayor's office told us they are not waiting for the state. The mayor's spokeswoman said they are currently studying other police department's procedures to find a solution that works.

Related story:

03/26/07 Illegal Immigrant In Custody After Weekend Accident