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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Illegal Alien Involved in Deadly Interstate 70 Crash Sentenced to 42 Months

INDIANAPOLIS - United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced that a Guatemalan man who was involved in a February 2018 crash that killed Indianapolis Colts player Edwin Jackson and rideshare driver Jeffrey Monroe was convicted and sentenced for illegally reentering the United States after having been previously deported. Manuel Orrego-Zavala, 38, was sentenced following a guilty plea to 42 months in federal prison by U.S. District Chief Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis.

"Mr. Orrego-Zavala re-entered the country illegally for the second time before he put the public safety of Indianapolis at risk and took the lives of two innocent men on February 4, 2018," said Minkler. "This prosecution represents our office’s commitment to charging aliens that illegally re-enter the country, especially if they are a risk to public safety or there is a criminal history present." According to court records, Orrego-Zavala was convicted of two drug felonies in California prior to his removal from the United States the first time in 2007. Orrego-Zavala was found in the United States again in May 2009 and subsequently removed a second time.

On February 4, 2018, Orrego-Zavala was back in the United States illegally and driving a pickup truck westbound on Interstate 70 in Indianapolis. Orrego-Zavala swerved and struck Monroe and his rideshare passenger, Jackson, who were standing alongside the highway after Jackson had become ill and Monroe pulled over. The impact killed Monroe and Jackson. Orrego-Zavala, who had a blood alcohol content of twice the legal limit, was later convicted in state court and sentenced to 16 years for causing death when operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

At the sentencing hearing, Assistant United States Attorney William L. McCoskey told the Court that a consecutive federal sentence would be appropriate because it would "send a strong message to the defendant and others similarly situated that we are a nation of laws, and that there are real consequences that come from violating those laws."

Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson ordered that Orrego-Zavala’s sentence of 42 months must be served consecutively to the state sentence of 16 years.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Indiana State Police and the Department of Homeland Security.

"This individual’s criminal and immigration histories clearly demonstrate a total disregard for U.S. law," said Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons. "Let this sentence serve as a reminder that Homeland Security Investigations prioritizes the prosecution of those who are intent on disrespecting our laws and putting the community at risk."

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to utilize and partner with law enforcement agencies to prosecute illegal immigration cases. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 1.8

Updated September 17, 2019