Guatemalan man illegally in U.S. kills Florida girl, 5, in DUI collision, authorities say

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He told deputies that he drank six 32-ounce beers and left the house to buy more.

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A man living in the United States illegally escaped from a Florida car collision that killed a 5-year-old girl, officials said.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Ernesto López Morales, 32, a Guatemalan citizen, was speeding in a 2005 black Chevrolet suburban area with his headlights on around 8:30 p.m. when he hit a 2016 Hyundai Elantra in Mulberry. collided with the rear.

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The Elantra, being driven by a woman with her daughter in the back seat, was pushed over 600 feet before both vehicles came to a halt. First responders arrived and found the girl dead at the scene. The woman was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“A tiny 5-year-old pretty kid was crushed to death,” Sheriff Grady Judd told Tampa Bay WTVT TV In an interview provided by the Sheriff’s Office to Granthshala News. “If he had been in his country last Saturday night like he should have been, our beautiful little 5-year-old would have been alive.”

Witnesses said they saw Morales running away on foot.

He was later found at his home. He reportedly told investigators that he drank six 32-ounce beers and left to buy more. Officials said he admitted to not keeping his headlights on and left the crash site.

“He also stated that he left the accident because he didn’t have insurance or a driver’s license,” the sheriff’s office said.

A search of his driving history revealed that Morales did not have a Florida or any other state driver’s license. At the time of the blood test, his blood alcohol level was .108 g of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

The legal limit is .08 grams. Morales has been charged with driving under the influence, manslaughter, death leaving the scene of an accident, DUI property damage, and other crimes. According to prison records, he is being held on a bond of $22,500.

Officials said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement had blocked him.

“This is the second person in almost a week that someone has been illegally killed in this country. It’s a problem,” Judd said.


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