Manuel Orrego-Savala, the man accused of killing Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe in a drunk-driving crash, was deported twice from the United States and is in the country illegally, authorities revealed.
President Donald Trump raised the suspect’s immigration history on Twitter in his continuing effort to highlight crimes by undocumented immigrants.
The victims of the fatal crash on I-70 in Indiana included Monroe, 54, of Avon, Indiana, a driver of a 2018 Lincoln. “It is believed he was a ride sharing operator who was transporting a passenger and the passenger became ill. Mr. Monroe pulled to the side of the road and got out of the car to assist the passenger,” Indiana State Police said in a news release. The passenger was identified as Jackson, 26, of Atlanta, Georgia.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene. Orrego-Savala is in jail but has not been charged in connection with the crash, which occurred around 4 a.m. on February 4, 2018, which was Super Bowl Sunday.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Manuel Orrego-Savala Is a Citizen of Guatemala Deported Twice From the United States
Police revealed that Manuel Orrego-Savala is a citizen of Guatemala and gave police a fake name when they first arrested him after the crash. “Investigators said he was deported in 2007 and 2009, and was again living illegally in the U.S.,” The Chicago Tribune reported.
“Another alleged selfish act of someone driving impaired and causing harm to innocent victims,” wrote Sgt. Tony Slocum of the Indiana State police. “Disappointing, Numerous ads and pleas by law enforcement for people not to drive impaired on @SuperBowl weekend, this is why, praying for victims #dontBselfish, don’t drive impaired.”
A probable cause affidavit alleges that Orrego-Savala’s blood alcohol level was .239 at the scene, which is three times over the legal limit in the State of Indiana. “Orrego-Savala has prior run-ins with law enforcement for driving without a valid license,” The Tribune reported.
2. One of the Victims Was Thrown Into the Center Lane of the Freeway
According to the Indiana State Police, both Jackson and Monroe were killed “after being struck by an alleged drunk driver along I-70 just west of Holt Road. A state trooper discovered the wreckage just before 4 o’clock this morning.”
The preliminary investigation by police concluded that both Jackson and Monroe were “standing outside” Monroe’s car as it was stopped on the side of I-70 near the 76.4 mile marker. “A black Ford F-150 drove onto the emergency shoulder and struck the rear of the car also striking both people,” Indiana State Police said.
“One of the people struck was thrown into the center lane of I-70. Shortly after the crash, and before any 911 calls were received, Trooper Ty Mays was driving through the area and noticed a vehicle in front of him make an evasive maneuver to the left. Mays then spotted the wreckage along the right side of the road and activated his emergency lights. As he slowed to stop for the crash he struck the body of the victim in the center lane,” the State Police said.
The driver of the pick-up truck gave his name as 37-year-old Alex Cabrera Gonsales of Indianapolis, according to State Police. He “fled the scene on foot. He was apprehended shortly after on the ramp to Holt Road by Trooper Mays. It is believed Gonsales was intoxicated and was driving without a license. He was transported to the Marion County Jail, the result of the test for intoxication is pending,” said police.
The police said in the statement that “weather is not believed to be a factor in this crash.” Cabrera Gonsales was later identified as Manuel Orrego-Savala, according to police.
3. President Trump Called the Deaths a ‘Preventable’ Tragedy
President Trump tweeted on the Jackson tragedy, writing, “My prayers and best wishes are with the family of Edwin Jackson, a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken. @Colts.” He also wrote: “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!”
Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita released a statement on the tragedy. “The loss of life at the hands of illegal immigrant criminals should make all Hoosiers sad and ultimately angry,” said Rokita. “We must do more to get these dangerous illegal immigrant criminals off of our streets, and guarantee this never happens again by building a wall, ending sanctuary cities, and stopping illegal immigration once and for all.”
Rokita reiterated his support for Trump’s immigration policies, including a border wall, writing, “Congressman Rokita has been a committed ally of President Trump and his administration to end illegal immigration, build a wall, and stop sanctuary cities.”
4. Oreggo-Savala Has a Previous Criminal History in the United States & The Uber Driver Was Trying to Raise Money to Take His Wife to the Olympics
Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe was driving for the ride-sharing service because he wanted to take his wife to the Olympics. The State Police spokesman urged people to not forget that Monroe also lost his life in the tragedy.
It’s not the first time that Oreggo-Savala has been in trouble with the law in the U.S. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that Orrego-Savala “was previously convicted of driving under the influence in Redwood City, California, in 2005,” reported CNN.
Furthermore, the suspect has other “misdemeanor criminal convictions and arrests in California and Indiana,” according to ICE. The nature of those has not yet been disclosed.
According to The Indianapolis Star, Orrego-Savala likely entered the country in 2004. The California drunk driving conviction came in 2005, and it’s not clear what happened in the immediate wake of it, The Star reported. “He was arrested by ICE in San Francisco in October 2006 for being in the country illegally. He was removed to Guatemala for the first time on Jan. 17, 2007,” reported The Star. “He was again arrested by ICE in San Francisco on March 26, 2009, for the same reason and was removed to Guatemala for a second time on May 12, 2009.” It’s not clear when Orrego-Savala returned to the U.S. again and ended up in Indiana, according to the newspaper.
5. The Colts Praised Jackson’s ‘Competitive Spirit’ & ‘Outgoing Personality’
The Colts posted an emotional statement about Edwin Jackson’s death.
“We were heartbroken to hear the news of Edwin Jackson’s passing. Edwin was loved by all in the Colts organization. We admired his outgoing personality, competitive spirit and hard-working mentality,” it reads. “He was well-respected among all with whom he crossed paths, and he will be greatly missed in our locker room and throughout our entire organization. We also understand that another person lost his life in the accident, only adding to our sorrow on this day. We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both men during this difficult time.”
Jackson played for Georgia Southern. He was placed on injured reserve by the Colts in September 2017. He had a college degree in international trade and was from Atlanta. “Played in 48 games (23 starts) in four seasons at Georgia Southern, posting 218 tackles (121 solo), 2.0 sacks, eight tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery,” reports the Colts website.