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Illegal alien from Mexico allegedly causes deadly crash in Colorado; jail records list him as 'white'
Inmate photo courtesy of Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

Illegal alien from Mexico allegedly causes deadly crash in Colorado; jail records list him as 'white'

The suspect has been on ICE's radar for more than 20 years.

An illegal alien with multiple arrests to his name and who has left and re-entered the U.S. more than a dozen times is accused of causing a crash in Colorado that left one person dead and two others injured.

Just over a week ago, Ignacio Cruz-Mendoza, a 47-year-old Mexican national, was driving a semi-truck down southbound I-285, a two-lane highway in a mountainous area of Colorado about 30 miles west of Denver. Witnesses later claimed that he was racing along dangerously fast, perhaps reaching a top speed of 80 mph.

'He may have lost his life that day, but I feel like I lost mine as well.'

Around 5 p.m., Cruz-Mendoza allegedly attempted to pass several cars. In his haste, he apparently side-swiped the cars before losing control of the truck and rolling over, causing his haul of pipe and angle iron to come crashing down on five other vehicles.

Two people were hurt during the crash, one of them seriously. Sadly, the crash also claimed the life of 64-year-old Scott Miller, a fellow truck driver and a beloved husband, father, and grandfather.

I-285 had to be closed for over 12 hours as investigators processed the scene. Cruz-Mendoza claimed that the brakes on the truck had gone out, though skid-mark evidence suggested they were working to some degree.

Cruz-Mendoza was arrested at the scene and initially charged with multiple felonies, including vehicular assault and vehicular homicide. However, the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office has since reduced those charges to one count of careless driving resulting in death and three counts of careless driving resulting in injury, all of which are misdemeanors.

The DA's office claimed current evidence did not support the felony charges. Further charges may be added pending the outcome of the investigation from Colorado State Police.

Cruz-Mendoza was assessed a bond of $50,000 and remains in custody at Jefferson County Jail. Online jail records list his race as white:

Screenshot of Jefferson County Jail inmate record

This arrest is hardly the first for Cruz-Mendoza. In fact, he became a familiar face to ICE after he was arrested in Oregon more than two decades ago on a charge related to drug trafficking. He also has at least one conviction for speeding and operating without lawfully required equipment.

Since 2002, he has either been deported or returned to Mexico voluntarily at least 16 times, most recently on May 29. ICE has issued an immigration detainer against him in connection with the crash.

KDVR claimed that Cruz-Mendoza will be represented by a public defender who does not comment on ongoing cases. His arraignment hearing is scheduled for July 31.

At the time of the incident, Cruz-Mendoza had been working for Monique Trucking, though he apparently did not have a commercial driver's license. Monique Trucking also has a history of violations, 9NEWS reported. Cruz-Mendoza's truck was most recently inspected four years ago.

Denver7 reached out to the company for comment but seemingly did not receive a response.

Meanwhile, Miller's loved ones are devastated that the man suspected of killing him now faces reduced charges. "I just wanted to have the driver to have accountability for his actions," said Michelle Tusa, Miller's daughter. "He took my father’s life and he seriously injured someone else. And I want him to face what he did."

"My husband and I have been together for 46 years," said Miller's widow, Deann Miller. "He may have lost his life that day, but I feel like I lost mine as well.'"

The family hopes that Miller's death will be a warning to other truck drivers to maintain safe speeds and follow safety protocols, especially when driving through mountains. "It was of his utmost concern, the safety of the truck drivers that drive really heavy big rigs up in the mountains," Tusa said of her father.

"If his death is going to mean anything, it is going to mean people are more aware and that truckers as a profession are more careful."

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →