Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda, undocumented driver in fatal Colorado interstate crash, gets 10 years

Posted at 11:33 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 10:33:16-04

DENVER (AP) — A man accused of overstaying his U.S. visa was sentenced to 10 years in Colorado state prison for a 2018 hit-and-run highway crash that killed a truck driver, Denver's top prosecutor said Wednesday.

Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda, 28, had pleaded guilty in July to one count of vehicular homicide, District Attorney Beth McCann said. He was sentenced Friday by District Court Judge Michael J. Vallejos.

Prosecutors said Zamarripa-Castaneda, who is from Mexico, was under the influence of alcohol and driving a pickup truck when he struck a tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 shortly before midnight on March 3, 2018. The crash killed the 57-year-old semi driver, John Anderson.

Zamarripa-Castaneda fled the scene of the accident. He was arrested at his home the next morning.

Denver sheriff's officials subsequently released Zamarripa-Castaneda on bond. They didn't notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about Zamarripa-Castaneda's pending release until an hour afterward.

Several days later, Zamarripa-Castaneda turned himself in to immigration authorities. ICE had declared him an "immigration fugitive."

Then-Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman acknowledged the department should have notified immigration agents before releasing Zamarripa-Castaneda. Three deputies were reassigned after an investigation.

Denver and other jurisdictions say they won't hold inmates who have posted bond until immigration agents can pick them up unless the agents have a warrant. The sheriff's department says its policy is to notify ICE once an inmate it's interested in starts the release process.