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Police: Illegal Immigrant Crashes Vehicle, Killing Nun

Police: Illegal Immigrant Crashes Vehicle, Killing Nun

This handout photo provided by the Prince William County, Va. Police shows Carlos Montano, the man who charged with drunken driving in a Northern Virginia crash that killed a nun and left two other nuns in critical condition. (AP)

Associated Press

August 04, 2010

WASHINGTON — An illegal immigrant awaiting a deportation ruling has been charged with killing a nun and critically injuring two others in a drunken driving crash that has sparked criticism of how immigration enforcement is handled.

A local official in the Virginia suburb where the crash happened and a congressman from another state have criticized federal officials for not removing the suspect from the country after previous arrests, and even U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano questioned why his deportation was taking so long. A spokeswoman for the nuns’ order, meanwhile, said they’re upset that the tragedy is being politicized.

Twenty-three-year-old Carlos Martinelly Montano, who police say is illegally in the country, is charged with drunken driving, involuntary manslaughter and felony driving on a revoked license after the accident on Sunday in Virginia’s Prince William County. Montano was arrested two times before and charged with drunken driving, according to county police, and has also been arrested in separate incidents for other traffic-related offenses. Police say Montano, who is from Bolivia, was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement after at least one arrest, and a prosecutor said he knew of at least one other occasion he’d been referred to immigration officials.

The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that Montano was released in 2008, pending an immigration judge’s review of his case. As of August 2010, a judge had not ruled on his deportation.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the crash a “terrible thing” when asked about the incident during an unrelated news conference at D.C. police headquarters Tuesday. Napolitano said she immediately asked officials to look into the situation.

“This is a horrible case,” said Napolitano, whose department includes ICE. “Why is it that this individual was still out driving? He was in removal proceedings. Why were the removal proceedings taking so long?”

Prince William County’s top elected leader and a Kentucky congressman, both Republicans, criticized federal immigration officials for not deporting Montano.

“As the facts surrounding this tragic case continue to come to light, I think it demonstrates the need for ICE to be more efficient and effective in their deportation duties,” Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers said in an e-mailed statement.


This undated handout photo provided by Benedictine Sisters of Virginia shows Sister Charlotte Lange, who was killed in a car crash. {AP}

Corey Stewart, the chairman of Prince William County’s Board of Supervisors, says the accident highlights the need for federal immigration reform. Stewart championed and implemented one of the nation’s strictest county-level anti-illegal immigration policies. The local law requires that police inquire about the immigration status of all people arrested on suspicion of violating a state or local law. He says it’s “extremely frustrating” that even with the county’s policy, not all those turned over to ICE are removed from the country.

“We handed him over to the feds assuming he would be deported, but instead federal authorities released him back into the neighborhood and he killed a nun,” Stewart said. “We feel like we are beating our heads against the wall.”

A Catholic nun and spokeswoman for the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia says sisters of the three nuns involved in the accident have always stayed out of the debate over immigration. Sister Glenna Smith says the Catholic nuns have always provided social services — including adult literacy courses and counseling — regardless of immigration status, and they are upset the tragedy has become fodder for policy debate.

“The Benedictine Sisters are dismayed and saddened that this tragedy has been politicized and become an apparent forum for the illegal immigration agenda,” Smith said. “It is not optional for us to choose mercy and forgiveness. We know this young man will be brought to justice, that’s appropriate, and we hope he will learn to make better choices.”

Montano’s car crossed a median Sunday morning when it hit the car carrying three nuns, police said. Sixty-six-year-old Sister Denise Mosier was pronounced dead on the scene, and two other nuns — Sister Charlotte Lange and Sister Connie Ruth Lupton — were critically injured and remained in a hospital on respirators Tuesday, according to Smith.

It wasn’t clear from jail records if Montano had an attorney.

Associated Press Writer Nafeesa Syeed in Washington contributed to this article.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    I am saddened,of course ,by the needless death of this lady of God.Montano will probably gert a get out of jail free card,by the feds and a $20,000 stimulus check.It goes without saying ,he will never pay the price..

  • Pdpic_max50


    about 4 years ago


    here is an idea fly a chopper over the country he is from and push him out when you get about 5 ft from the ground let him wait in his own country for and crime charges he has pending what is so hard about determining if its ok to deport an illegal they arent supose to be here in the first place send them home then determine if they are eligable to come back

  • Pic-0246_max50


    about 4 years ago


    after his first arrest and they knew he was here illegally, they shouldve made him sit in jail until he was deported. bet they wouldve have got him out of here a hell of alot faster then

  • 74596_129289523905506_927477597_n_max50


    about 4 years ago


    As a Catholic that went to Catholic school and had nuns as teachers, this really saddens me. Rest in Peace, Sister Lange...

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    As usual in this country, someone had to die for anybody to take notice of the problem(i.e., 9/11). Rest in peace, Sister Lange; you deserved better.

  • 45089_396847393722850_1055776862_n_max50


    about 4 years ago


    R.I.P. Sister Lange.

  • Phone_pics_035_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Only thing that is going to happen now is he will get deported even faster, then be back in our country in less than 2 months.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 4 years ago


    Why is it taking a "judge" 2 years to decide if a repeat offender that is in our country illegally should be deported???!!! This is a prime example of an education gone wrong (in the judges case). THE BLOOD OF MONTANO'S VICTIMS IS ON THE JUDGES AND HOMELAND SECURITYs HANDS!!! Sleep well for killing 1 possibly 4 poeple!!

  • Thinker_max50


    about 4 years ago



    VA State Police were just given the green light to do what AZ wants to do. Now the FEDS/ICE needs to be given the green light to do their job...

  • Academyrun_014_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Where is Sherrif Joe Arpaio from Arizona. When are we going to wake up and stop the illegal invasion of our country?

  • F5-tornado_max50


    about 4 years ago


    There is nothing wrong with being in this country from another country. However, if you are not allowed to be here because you are TRESPASSING, then you should be thrown in jail until they move you back to your own country. Disgusting. She would be alive today if ICE knew how to do their damn job.

  • P1030380_max50


    about 4 years ago


    and let me guess no inssurance neighter

  • Meangreen01_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Sadly, I'm not surprised.

  • Ribbon_max50


    about 4 years ago


    “The Benedictine Sisters are dismayed and saddened that this tragedy has been politicized and become an apparent forum for the illegal immigration agenda"

    No, this is just another example of why something needs to be done. Stuff like this, and worse, happens everyday...............

  • Shenanigans7sy_max50


    about 4 years ago


    WEll he will get a free ride this time to the slammer and then deported!! Quick fast and in a hurry!!! What should of happened the first time!!!

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