Man charged in fatal wreck in U.S. illegally
The driver in a fiery crash that killed three people near Webster last weekend has been charged with three felony counts and identified by authorities as an illegal immigrant.
Jose Marvin Sarmientos, 20, was arrested Monday night at his residence in Webster, said Webster Police Chief Ray Smiley. Sarmientos faces three felony charges of failure to stop and render aid in of connection with the triple-fatal wreck early Sunday morning, said Harris County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Donna Hawkins.
Authorities said Sarmientos lost control of his pickup truck after visiting a nightclub in League City with friends. Passengers Myra Castillo, 22, and Maria Castillo, 18, and Marvin Garcia died in the wreck, and Sarmientos fled on foot, authorities said.
Gregory Palmore, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, confirmed that Sarmientos, a native of El Salvador, had an order dating to August 2007 to be removed from the U.S. ICE has now filed paperwork to detain Sarmientos, who was being held Tuesday in the Harris County Jail.
Authorities said Sarmientos was driving a 2004 GMC truck southbound on the Gulf Freeway around 2:48 a.m. when he lost control of the pickup, which struck a concrete divider, crossed over several lanes, rolled and then crashed into a tree and caught on fire.
Two men changing a flat tire a few hundred feet away heard the crash and attempted to help the victims, but they were unable to get through the flames, police said. Sarmientos ran away police said.
Sarmientos' relatives told police that he called them to say he had been injured in a wreck and was at a shopping center near the Gulf Freeway and Bay Area Boulevard.
The three felony counts carry a maximum punishment of two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, Hawkins said. She said if convicted on all three counts, the sentences could not be stacked, meaning he would serve all three sentences at the same time.
Staff writer Dale Lezon contributed to this report.
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