Dad of victim blames ICE, Marion County for release of hit-and-run suspect
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Jessica Renee Parks has a long road back from the injuries she suffered in a recent hit-and-run accident.
“They said my daughter’s gonna have to be in the hospital for at least six months to a year for her to be able to use her legs,” said Wayland Coe.
Parks told us she forgives Juana Noemi Loa-Nunez, the suspected illegal alien who was chased down and detained by witnesses who told police she was the driver who struck the church pre-school teacher as she walked to work.
Coe said he is not as understanding when it comes to the finger pointing between federal and Marion County officials over who is responsible for letting Loa-Nunez out of jail last Thursday.
“I found out that they let her out and I’m trying to figure out why. She didn’t even supposed to be here but she’s out and my daughter’s still in the hospital,” said Coe. “I think that they didn’t follow up on the procedures that they supposed to be doing they job as far as somebody being here illegal and not doing what they supposed to do.”
Loa-Nunez was charged May 7 with Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Serious Bodily Injury, a low level felony, and driving without ever having a license, a misdemeanor.
On May 8, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told FOX59 News that the agency “placed an immigration detainer and an administrative arrest warrant with the Marion County Jail, following Loa-Nunez’s local arrest on criminal charges.”
ICE maintains that such a detainer authorizes a local jail to maintain custody of a suspected illegal alien for up to 48 hours to allow immigration agents time to assume custody for removal purposes.
Court records indicate Loa-Nunez post $250 bond on the hit-and-run charge May 10.
Though Marion County Jail records don’t indicate such, apparently Loa-Nunez was released that day.
“Without regard for the safety of its citizens…Marion County brazenly ignored an immigration detainer and released a Mexican woman from its jail without first notifying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ,” ICE Field Director Ricardo Wong was quoted in a statement from his Chicago Field Office May 11. “Marion County allowed this woman to go free, and she continues to be a danger to anyone else who happens to be on the same road she drives.”
Within hours, Marion County Jail officials fired back.
“ICE Fails To Do Its Job, Blames County Government,” headlined the statement from Sheriff John Layton’s Public Information Officer Katie Carlson.
“In accordance with the ruling of Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker, and Indiana Law, ICE was given four hours notice to take custody of Ms. Loa-Nunez. ICE failed to act in accord with the law by failing to pick up this individual in a timely manner.
“Judge Sarah Evans Barker has ruled that ICE must provide a criminal warrant or a criminal probable cause affidavit for the County to detain undocumented individuals. ICE failed to provide such documentation, despite receiving timely notice. Thus, ICE allowed this individual to go free.”
The Sheriff’s statement indicated that if ICE has a problem with the Court’s ruling, it should take it up with Judge Barker Evans.
“They didn’t get a notice of this and she’s out, so I don’t understand to where who hits a person and you’re free?” asked Coe, setting on his back deck on the city’s northside, hours after his last visit with Jessica in the hospital. “So both sides is wrong, Marion County wrong and (ICE) wrong because the simple fact is, she should still be in custody cuz my daughter could have lost her life.”
Loa-Nunez is next scheduled to be in court May 24.
Coe has his doubts about ever seeing the woman accused of running down his daughter again.
“We won’t. When Marion County Jail released her and let her walk free, we won’t see her. She’s gonna do it to someone else and she’s gonna continue to go free. Justice have to be done. My daughter’s fighting and she’s in pain, but this woman’s walking around like nothing ever happened.”
As of Sunday evening, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said Loa-Nunez was not back in jail custody.
ICE had not responded for a comment.