Wrong-Way Driver Charged in Mendota Heights Crash Targeted for Deportation

October 06, 2017 03:13 PM

The 36-year-old man charged in connection with a crash that left the driver of another vehicle injured Sunday is facing deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said 36-year-old Jorge Barrera Garcia, a citizen of Guatemala, is in the country illegally and has been deported from the U.S. on three previous occasions.


RELATED: Wrong-Way Driver Charged in Mendota Heights Crash

Garcia is accused of fleeing a state trooper, driving the wrong way along an interstate and crashing into another vehicle.

He was charged Tuesday with one count of criminal vehicular operation resulting in great bodily harm, one count of fleeing a peace officer, one count of driving while impaired and one count of obstructing the legal process.

Garcia had a court appearance Wednesday, though there was no movement in the case as he required an interpreter and one was unavailable. 

UPDATE: Man Drove Wrong Way on 2 Interstates Prior to Crashing into Vehicle

"On Oct. 3, ICE deportation officers filed an immigration detainer and a warrant for arrest of alien on Jorge Garcia-Herbertt, an illegally present citizen of Guatemala, with the Dakota County Sheriff's Office, following Garcia's arrest on multiple criminal charges relating to an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 1 in Mendota Heights, Minnesota," said a statement from Department of Homeland Security public affairs officer Shawn Neudauer. 

"Garcia has previously been removed (deported) from the U.S. on three occasions, once in 2007 and twice in 2008. He was also convicted in federal court in May 2008 for illegally entering the U.S. ICE will seek to gain custody of Garcia if he's released from local custody, and will reinstate his previous removal order."

According to the criminal complaint, state troopers were alerted about 4:24 a.m. Sunday to a driver traveling south in the northbound lanes of Interstate 35 East at Interstate 6-94. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle at I-35E and Cayuga Street in St. Paul, but Garcia continued past the troopers, the complaint says.

Garcia eventually stopped the Kia Sportage he was driving south of Cayuga in the HOV lane. During the stop, officers commanded him to get out of the vehicle and attempted unsuccessfully to pull the keys from the ignition, the complaint states.

Garcia instead hit the gas and fled, continuing southbound on I-35. Troopers say he reached speeds of 100 miles per hour while going through the I-35E/Interstate 94 interchange in St. Paul. There, officers gave up the chase but continued to monitor via traffic cameras.

The complaint says Garcia's vehicle collided with another while Garcia was going the wrong way on an off-ramp from westbound Interstate 494 to northbound I-35E in Mendota Heights. 

That vehicle was driven by 64-year-old Randy Carmody of Woodbury, who was on his way to Savage to train for a new job. Instead, Carmody went to Regions Hospital with injuries to his wrist, ribs and sternum. 

"Next thing you know, glass is flying and I'm twirling around, and I firmly believe without my seat belt, I'd be dead," Carmody said from the hospital Sunday evening.

Troopers arriving at the scene had to put out a fire that ignited as a result. They reported Garcia's pupils were constricted and his eyes were red, and that he was moving slowly and deliberately but with "erratic or violent behavior," according to the complaint.

Garcia also suffered injuries and was taken to Regions. He was booked into Dakota County Jail Tuesday afternoon. 


Frank Rajkowski and Mike Oakes

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