Chicago (AFP) – A suspected drunk driver who killed Indianapolis Colts player Edwin Jackson in a car accident was charged Wednesday by a prosecutor who also chastised President Donald Trump for comments that “politicized the tragedy.”
Jackson and the driver of his ride-share car Jeffrey Monroe were killed Sunday morning after a black Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 37-year-old undocumented immigrant man struck both of them as they were standing on the side of a highway, according to police.
Manuel Orrego-Zavala was charged Wednesday by prosecutors in the state of Indianapolis with four felony counts of failing to remain at the scene of an accident and causing a deadly accident while drunk.
His immigration status prompted Trump on Tuesday to tie the tragedy to his political battle to tighten immigration laws. But the Indiana prosecutor in charge of the case rebuked the president and others who have made such a connection.
“We are disheartened that ghoulish and inappropriate public commentary has politicized this tragedy,” Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry said in a statement.
“Much of such commentary, including tweets by the President, fails to acknowledge that both Edwin Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe lost their lives on Sunday. We will simply seek justice on behalf of the families of those two victims.”
Orrego-Zavala allegedly tried to flee the scene of the crash, but was caught by a state police officer. He is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who previously had been deported twice and was arrested several times in California for drunk driving.
Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly tried to link immigration with crime, and demanded that Democrats in Congress agree to more spending to build a wall on the Mexican border and on America’s ICE deportation force.
“So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!” Trump tweeted.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged Orrego-Zavala with illegal re-entry into the US, a crime for which he could face 10 years in prison. According to the complaint, immigration officers arrested and deported him in October 2006 and again in March 2009.