On the night of May 4, a 2008 Chevy Avalanche speeding along highway 113 in Knight’s Landing smashed into a trailer killing a father, mother and son: Jose Pacheco, 38, Anna Pacheco, 34, and their son Angel, who was 10. Their 11-year-old daughter was critically injured in the crash and airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center with major injuries.
DUI Suspect Released on Bail After Killing Three Family Members
The suspect in the felony DUI, Ismael Huazo-Jardinez, 33, was released on bail the following day. According to Paul Prince, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), “Ismael Huazo-Jardinez is an illegally present Mexican national. The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended him in Arizona and granted him voluntary return to Mexico in February 2011.”
“He illegally re-entered at some point thereafter.”
According to Prince, “On Tuesday, May 7, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (San Francisco) Fugitive Operations Team members apprehended Huazo-Jardinez. ICE used available resources to locate and detain him. He will remain in ICE custody pending the disposition of his immigration proceedings.”
On Tuesday, May 7, the suspect’s immigration status was not the only information that remained sketchy.
His 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche weighs nearly 6,000 pounds. After demolishing the Pachecos’ trailer in the crash, the reportedly intoxicated driver attempted to flee but according to a local report, “neighbors tackled him and restrained him until police arrived.” California Highway Patrol officers arrested Huazo-Jardinez for felony DUI and held him on three counts of vehicular manslaughter.
As the CHP’s David Hernandez explained, “if the 11-year-old girl succumbs to her injuries then it will be four counts of vehicular manslaughter. We’re going to continue investigating, complete the police report and submit it to the District Attorney for prosecution.”
The suspect was treated for minor injuries and as ABC News reported, “CHP had requested he be held without bail, but the judge denied it.”
Court and Officers Clam Up Because of Sanctuary State Status
No early news report identified the Sutter County judge who allowed bail for a suspect who had already attempted to flee a crash that took three lives. Other reports said the CHP wanted $1 million bail or no bail at all, and that “a judge” first set bail at $100,000 then raised it to $300,000.
Sutter County undersheriff Scott Smallwood told ABC News that on Sunday, May 5, Huazo-Jardinez posted bail and was released from custody. As the Sacramento Bee reported, he “presumably returned to his home in Yuba City” and had a previous reckless driving conviction and a handful of citations but “no major criminal history.”
On May 6, undersheriff Smallwood told the California Globe he could not identify the Sutter County judge who allowed bail for the suspect in the triple manslaughter case. Likewise, the officer did not know the suspect’s blood-alcohol level or his rate of speed before crashing into the Pacheco residence.
Asked about the suspect’s immigration status, Smallwood referred to a previous deportation for the suspect. The undersheriff provided no details on the suspect’s current immigration status.
Officer David Hernandez of the California Highway Patrol told the Globe he did not know the suspect’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash, nor the suspect’s rate of speed. Hernandez could not name the judge who granted the suspect bail, and told the Globe that immigration status is “not a question we ever ask.”
Sutter County Deputy District Attorney Cameron King told the Globe that Sutter County Judge David Ashby had allowed Ismael Huazo-Jardinez to post bail. Ashby is a 2016 appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown, as his U.C. Davis alumni page reports.
“It would be improper for the court to comment on any pending matter,” wrote Sutter Superior Court CEO Stephanie M. Hansel, in an email response to questions from the Globe.
Who Posted $30k Bail?
According to Cameron King, Ismael Huazo-Jardinez posted bail through McMains Bail Bonds in Oroville, more than 20 miles away from Yuba City, and in a different county. With bail set at $300,000, McMains told the Globe, the suspect would have to produce $30,000 in cash or the equivalent in collateral. McMains Bail Bonds was unaware of the suspect’s attempts to flee the scene.
Deputy DA Cameron King told the Globe he had no paperwork demanding that Huazo-Jardinez be handed over for deportation. King also told the Globe he could “not deny” federal efforts to apprehend Huazo-Jardinez for deportation.
Vehicular manslaughter, with felony DUI calls for up to four years in prison, plus three to six more years if other victims are seriously injured, plus a fine of up to $10,000. At this writing the injured 11-year-old girl remains in the hospital with severe injuries.
Ismael Huazo-Jardinez, illegally present Mexican national now in ICE custody, is due to appear in Sutter County court on June 10.