Undocumented immigrant involved in fatal hit-and-run bonds out of jail before ICE is notified

DENVER -- An undocumented immigrant charged with vehicular homicide after a fiery crash on March 3 bonded out of jail a week later and managed to avoid being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda was wanted by ICE, but the Denver Sheriff's Department said Sunday that although the department alerted ICE in response to a request for release notification it received, that did not occur until 6:33 p.m.

Zamarripa-Castaneda, 26, bonded out at 5:28 p.m.

The sheriff's department called the delay"unacceptable" and said the sheriff has "ordered an immediate internal review to determine why established notification processes did not take place before Zamarripa-Castaneda was released."

ICE Denver Field Office director Jeffrey Lynch called Zamarripa-Castaneda an "immigration fugitive."

The sheriff's department notificed ICE that it would release Zamarripa-Castaneda at an unspecified time.

Less than two hours later, ICE officers arrived at the sheriff's department to take Zamarripa-Castaneda into custody but were told he had already been released.

ICE said it's working with the sheriff's department to avoid a similar situation in the future.

"As law enforcement professionals, we should all have the same ultimate goal in mind -- to protect the public by combating criminals," Lynch said in a statement.

"ICE helps fulfill that role by removing criminal aliens from the streets, and from the United States. Zamarripa-Castaneda is currently an immigration fugitive.”

Denver and all other state agencies stopped honoring detainer orders from ICE in 2014 after courts ruled it was illegal.

The crash happened near eastbound Interstate 70 and North Brighton Boulevard shortly before midnight on March 3. It involved a tractor trailer that caught on fire.

The 57-year-old driver of the semitruck died. Officials have not released the victim's identity.

Zamarripa-Castaneda, 26, then fled the scene of the accident, the Denver Police Department said. He was arrested at his home in the 2600 block of West Bayaud Avenue early March 4, prosecutors said.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Zamarripa-Castaneda’s speech was slurred and his breath had a moderate odor of unknown alcohol.

Zamarripa-Castaneda has been charged with one count of vehicular homicide-DUI and one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

He appeared in court on Friday morning for a second advisement before making bail on Saturday.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 2.

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