RALEIGH, NC (WRAL) – A man was being held Monday on an ICE detainer following a weekend crash that killed another man and critically injured his wife.
Jesus Velez-Alvarado, 28, of Wilmington, has been charged with driving while impaired, driving the wrong way, felony by serious injury by vehicle, open containers and driving without a license, the State Highway Patrol said. Velez-Alvarado was being held Monday at the Wake County jail. He appeared in court Monday afternoon for a first-appearance hearing.
The presiding judge allowed his $50,000 bond to remain the same, and Velez-Alvarado was ordered to return to court on April 30.
“They should put him away for life,” said Clayton Owens after the hearing.
Owens’ son, Leroy Owens, 47, and daughter-in-law Lakeatia Owens, 44, were going the right way on Knightdale Boulevard at Old Milburnie Road when Velez-Alvarado, driving on the wrong side of the road, slammed into them head-on.
Leroy Owens died, and, family members said, Lakeatia Owens’ condition is “pretty grave.” She had five hours of surgery Sunday.
Their daughter put her faith in God over the justice system after learning of the crash.
“Even if justice doesn’t prevail, I know that God is going to handle his situation,” she said of Velez-Alvarado. “It is unfair for this man to walk in here – he gets to eat three meals, walk around – and it’s not fair that I had to get a phone call that my brother is dead.”
Authorities Velez-Alvarado and a friend were on the way home from a bar around 2 a.m. when the crash occurred. According to police reports, he admitted to a witness that he had been drinking.
Velez-Alvarado was not injured in the crash, but his passenger was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Officials said there is a question of whether he is a legal U.S. citizen and they are holding him on an ICE detainer, or a request that a local jail detain him for 48 hours after his release date in order to provide ICE agents extra time to decide whether to take him into federal custody for removal from the country.
“My brother was a good man and he was liked by many people,” said Theresa Owens-Lawrence. “He didn’t have a chance when that guy hit him.”