Saturday, December 16, 2017
Public safety

Plant City man accused in hit-and-run detained by immigrations officials

PLANT CITY — The man accused in a fatal hit-and-run Sunday may be in the country illegally.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a detainer on Timoteo Gabriel DeJesus, 23, after he was arrested late Monday. But with a criminal record dating back to 2006, it's unclear why he was in the country at all.

DeJesus is accused of crashing his car into 16-year-old Brandon Sullivan, who was walking to a Plant City store after the New England Patriots' playoff win. Brandon died at the scene and his friend, 15-year-old Erick Gonzalez, was hospitalized with a broken leg.

State records show that DeJesus has been arrested in the past on charges including driving under the influence, resisting a law enforcement officer and giving a false name to an officer. There was a current warrant for his arrest on a domestic battery charge. And even though he didn't have a driver's license, he was on the road.

DeJesus has been cited with driving with an open container and driving under the influence, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

ICE officials wouldn't elaborate on DeJesus' status or situation, saying that information is not public record. So it's unclear whether he has ever been detained or deported. In general, though, ICE does not deport every person known to be in the country illegally. Officials have said they don't have enough funding.

In an effort to make the biggest impact, ICE often focuses on removing criminals, said Miami Field Office director Marc Jeffrey Moore.

Times staff writer Marissa Lang and researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

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