Wrongful death suit filed in fatal crash involving illegal immigrant
Jul 19, 2008
Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
An illegal immigrant charged with killing two people in a South Richmond car crash now faces a $2.3 million wrongful-death suit filed by the family of one of the victims.
The administrators of the estate of Kathryn L. Jones, who was fatally injured in the May 24 wreck, also has named as a defendant the construction company for which Carmen Alejandro Garcia-Hernandez was employed.
Garcia-Hernandez was driving a pickup truck registered to R.J. Biringer Construction Co. Inc., whose owner, Ronald J. Biringer, is under federal indictment for transporting illegal immigrants.
Richmond police allege that Garcia-Hernandez was driving the truck when it ran off Snead Road and hit a parked car that spun around and fatally injured two people standing next to it, Jones, 44, and Joseph Owens, 40, of Alberta in Brunswick County.
Jones, a native of South Hill and the mother of two children, lived in the neighborhood were the crash occurred and was attending a house-warming party when she was struck, said Charles H. Cuthbert Jr., her attorney. She had been employed several years as a security guard for Wackenhut Corp., he said.
After the crash, police said Garcia-Hernandez, 28, tried to flee the scene on foot, but witnesses detained him until officers arrived. He was indicted June 9 on two counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run driving.
According to the lawsuit, Garcia-Hernandez had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.
His employer, Ronald Biringer, was indicted March 19 by a federal grand jury in Richmond on a single count of transporting illegal immigrants to Fort Lee. He was arrested a day later and released on bond.
He had been scheduled to stand trial Thursday in U.S. District Court, but his case apparently has been put on hold indefinitely. Several court officials and Biringer's attorney say the case is now under seal. They all declined to elaborate.
The case has disappeared from the federal court docket. Documents related to Biringer's indictment, originally posted on the federal judiciary's official Web site, have been expunged completely.
"I was really perplexed as to why the federal record was sealed," said Cuthbert, who also was rebuffed by court officials. "I cannot imagine that this case implicates national security in any way.
The lawsuit suggests that Garcia-Hernandez had permission to drive the Biringer company truck at the time of the crash.
"At all relevant times," the suit says, "Mr. Garcia-Hernandez was an agent or employee of R.J. Biringer Construction Co. Inc., and was acting within the course and scope of such agency and employment."
A day after the fatal crash, Biringer reported to Powhatan County police that Garcia-Hernandez had taken the Ford truck without authorization from the company's office at 1730 Douthit Court, off U.S. 60 in eastern Powhatan. He reported the truck had been missing since Friday, May 23, a day before the wreck.
Steven Bancroft, a Northern Virginia attorney representing Biringer's company in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
I'm shocked ------>
I hope they take the employer to the cleaners
Can anyone search court records for mention of this case(s)?
I've heard that all arrest records of illegals are sealed(unlike for citizens)
this may just be that, sealing of the records to keep them "off the radar"
You know how the fbi tracks all crimes and keeps records of them, and reports them?
They don't keep track of crimes committed by illegals, and they certainly don'r report them