ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – An Arlington man who police arrested for driving while intoxicated during a fatal wreck in Grand Prairie Friday may be in this country illegally, despite having two prior DWI convictions.
Gustavo Camacho served time for a 2010 DWI incident. Now, customs officers have a federal hold on him at the Dallas County Jail. But why now and not sooner?
“Local law enforcement, they don’t have the power to drive someone to the border and kick them out of the country,” said labor and immigration attorney Brett Myers. “That’s an issue for the federal authorities.”
Myers said even two prior convictions wouldn’t have automatically triggered federal involvement.
“What the federal law enforcement agencies are looking for are crimes involving violence, rape, murder, or robbery,” or a conviction in a murky area known as moral turpitude, he said.
In an e-mail to CBS 11 News speaking of Camacho, Immigration and Customs said, in part, “if this inmate is released for any reason he will be released to ICE custody. Before this recent arrest, ICE had not encountered Camacho previously.”
Myers senses a national demand for change and a harder stand on drunken driving.
“What we’re seeing now is a movement towards classifying those DWIs that involve significant bodily injury as being a crime of violence,” the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation says the incident underscores the need for all drivers to be aware in construction zones.
Friday’s tragic accident was a rear-end, chain reaction wreck caused when Camacho’s car apparently hit vehicles that had slowed for construction.
“This is a problem and we have a lot of work zones in the Dallas district,” said Cynthia Northrop White, a TxDOT spokeswoman.
One in every three work zone accidents is a rear ender, she said.
“In 2009 out of the 108 fatalities we had, 40 of them were alcohol-related,” White said.
She says drivers distracted by conversations, smart phones or changing radio stations aren’t aware of the danger they may be causing, and other drivers should immediately show down when they see the orange cones and barricades.
“When you’re coming up against a work zone anyway you need to pay attention,” she said. “You need to plan ahead and you need to be aware because there’s activity there, the lanes could be narrower.”