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Medical examiner IDs truck driver killed in hit-and-run crash with undocumented driver

Posted at 11:12 AM, Mar 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-12 15:26:33-04

DENVER – The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner identified the driver of an 18-wheeler killed in a fiery hit-and-run crash with an undocumented driver.

John Anderson, 57, of Lone Tree, died following the March 4 crash on the eastbound lanes of I-70 in Denver. The California native drove commercial trucks for many years, according to an obituary.

The man police accuse of causing the crash was arrested about 12 hours after he allegedly fled the scene. Ivan Gerardo Zamarripa-Castaneda, 26, was being held at the Denver Jail on charges of vehicular homicide but has since bonded out.

The Mexican national is wanted by agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible deportation and was the subject of a detainer request while he was being held at the Denver County Jail. 

However, the Denver Sheriff’s Department said it does not honor ICE holds on grounds it violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a policy the department has held since 2013. Instead, department officials say they notify the agency before an inmate under the civil hold is released. 

But that was not the case when Zamarripa-Castaneda was released from Denver's jail at 5:28 p.m. Saturday after posting $25,000 bond. ICE was notified more than an hour after the suspect's release, at 6:33 p.m.

The Denver Sheriff's Department has said it is now investigating why there was a delay.

"This is unacceptable and the Sheriff has ordered an immediate internal review to determine why established notification processes did not take place before Zamarripa-Castaneda was released," the department said Sunday in a statement.

The incident happened a year after U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions criticized Denver's jail for giving immigration officials 25 minutes' notice before releasing an auto theft suspect, Ever Valles, they had expressed an interest in. He was involved in a fatal robbery several months later and was sentenced Friday to 29 years in prison.

Zamarripa-Castaneda was charged with vehicular homicide. His next court appearance is unknown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report