TRENTON, NJ (The Trentonian) – The illegal immigrant and unlicensed driver who killed a motorcyclist last year in a Hopewell Township motor vehicle accident will be deported after serving out a five-year prison sentence.
Guatemalan national Estuardo Rufino Chaves, 23, also known as Rufino Estuardo, must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence behind bars for the vehicular homicide that claimed the life of Orest L. Huraleczko, 60, of Lawrence Township.
“It is anticipated you would be deported upon your completion of the 85 percent,” Mercer County Superior Court Judge Darlene Pereksta said Friday upon sentencing Chaves to five years of state incarceration. She called the sentence an “appropriate” punishment after blasting the defendant for driving without a license and having no literacy skills to read the English language with understanding. “It resulted in a man’s death,” she said.
During the evening of May 31, 2016, Chaves crashed a black Toyota Tundra pickup truck into the Kawasaki motorcycle that Huraleczko was driving at the intersection of Scotch Road and Washington Crossing-Pennington Road in Hopewell Township.
Police charged Chaves with death by auto, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and causing death or injury while unlicensed after Detective Joseph Maccaquano arrested him that evening in a commercial parking lot about one mile away from where the victim had died. Police said Chaves was not injured in the crash.
Police at the time also charged Chaves with several motor vehicle citations, including driving while intoxicated, but Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor James Scott said the state had “insufficient evidence to convict the defendant of DWI” because his blood-alcohol concentration was determined to be below the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Chaves ultimately reached a plea bargain with the state in which he pleaded guilty in August to one count of second-degree reckless death by auto in exchange for a promise to have his other charges dismissed and a recommendation for the judge to sentence him to five years of imprisonment.
“I think the plea agreement is just,” Judge Pereksta said Friday. “It was a negotiated plea.”
Chaves, prior to his arrest, was a landscaper living in Trenton’s Top Road neighborhood in the North Ward. He was being jailed at the Mercer County Correction Center on $200,000 full bond or cash and has consequently been awarded with 514 days of jail credit.
With jail credit factored in, Chaves will have to serve about three years in the slammer before getting released on parole. The sentence calls for Chaves to be subjected to three years of parole supervision, but he is expected to be deported to Guatemala upon release because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, has placed a detainer on Chaves as of June 2, 2016, according to court records.
Chaves was represented by private attorney Christopher R. Barbrack at Friday’s sentencing. The defendant showed up in an orange Mercer County jail jumpsuit and communicated to the court through an interpreter.