Drunk Driving Suspect Illegal, Younger Than Previously Thought - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/27/07-Tyler

Drunk Driving Suspect Illegal, Younger Than Previously Thought

The Immaculate Conception Church in Tyler is where the family of Martha Mondragon and the baby she was carrying were paid their final respects.

The church sits at the same street light, where a suspected drunk driver slammed into their black Mustang Saturday.

Tyler police are finishing up what's been a painstaking process to identify this Hispanic male suspect, who police say is here illegally.

"We wanted to make sure that because of the seriousness of the offense, all the information we were receiving was correct," Tyler Public Information Officer Don Martin said.

Police told KLTV 7, the suspect is 15 years old and lives in Carthage.

His age was indicated on his Mexican birth certificate. Police got a copy of it from the boy's school.

It's because of his illegal status, police have filed an immigration detainer.

"He will be held. He will go through the criminal justice system here," Martin explained

Immigration attorney Natalie Fletcher added, "So [the suspect] would not be eligible for any sort of state bond. Or they can give him the bond but the federal hold will keep him in the [juvenile] detention center."

How long this suspect has been in the U.S. illegally is uncertain. Fletcher said even if his family attempted to file for citizenship, it doesn't happen overnight.

"[The] immigration process is extremely slow. If a legal permanent resident applies for his family from Mexico it takes eight years for the visa to become current," Fletcher said.

Meanwhile, the victim's family knows the funeral is not the end of this ordeal. As the justice system is beginning to take it's course.

We learned 6-year-old Bianca Mondragon, who was injured in that crash, is no longer a patient at the Dallas hospital where she was treated.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

Powered by Frankly