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Illegal immigrant returned, charged in fatal 1995 crash

By Barney Lerten
Published On: Dec 20 2012 08:40:05 PM CST
SANCHEZ, JOSE LUIS

Marion County Jail

Jose Luis Sanchez

SALEM, Ore. -

A fugitive sought for 17 years in a Marion County crash that killed a Prineville man was returned from Arizona to Oregon Thursday, nearly a year after his arrest by federal border agents for illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico, authorities said.

Last January Border Patrol agents at the Casa Grande, Arizona station apprehended a man for illegally entering the country.

During processing, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System  alerted agents to an active warrant issued in 1995 out of Marion County for vehicular homicide.

The Marion County District Attorney's Office worked with Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents to positively identify the man as Jose Luis Sanchez, 38.

He was wanted following an August 7, 1995 fatal traffic crash when he was 21 years old and lived in Prineville.

According to an Oregon State Police investigation, the single-vehicle crash occurred around 1:20 a.m. on Highway 22 about six miles west of Idanha near milepost 60.

A passenger car driven by Sanchez was westbound at a high rate of speed when it failed to negotiate a curve, traveled across the highway and struck several trees.

Right front passenger Jesus Gonzalez-Sanchez, 22, also of Prineville, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jose Luis Sanchez was seriously injured and treated at a Portland-area hospital.

Since being taken into custody, Sanchez was held in federal custody and eventually pleaded guilty on federal charges.

After sentencing, he was brought to Oregon for a pending arraignment in Marion County Circuit Court on charges related to the crash.

Marion County Deputy District Attorney Amy Queen said Sanchez is due for arraignment Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.

She said she wasn't yet aware whether Sanchez originally was deported after the 1995 crash and hospital treatment or if he fled the country.

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