Local News

Illegal Immigrant Charged With Manslaughter in Fatal Hit-and-Run

Posted March 6, 2007
Updated March 7, 2007

— The driver of a car that slammed into a tractor-trailer Sunday night, killing two people, was charged Tuesday morning with involuntary manslaughter, authorities said.

Luciano Tellez, 31, of Angier, who is also known as Tellez Diaz, was charged Monday night with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle, felony hit-and-run, running a stop sign and driving with a suspended license.

Federal authorities have determined that Diaz was in the U.S. illegally and have placed a detainer on him in case he makes his $2 million bond and is released from the Johnston County Detention Center. Authorities said they would let the legal system run its course before determining whether to deport him.

The state Highway Patrol is still trying to sort out the details involving the fatal wreck, which occurred at the intersection of N.C. Highway 210 and Plainview Church Road near Angier.

Authorities said Tellez ran a stop sign at the intersection and rammed into a tractor-trailer. The rig veered off the road, overturned and caught fire, killing the driver and a passenger, authorities said.

Tellez fled the scene on foot. Two passengers in the car remained at the scene and told authorities what happened.

Authorities identified the two victims of the wreck as Jerry "Duane" Braswell, 35, of 3833 Manor Drive in Clayton, and his 9-year-old son, Jerry Braswell Jr.

The boy was a third-grader at Cleveland Elementary School, and school officials had counselors on campus Tuesday to talk with other students.

"He always had a smile on his face and a funny story to tell," Principal Linda Edmundson said. "Jerry will truly be missed."

A family friend said Braswell and his son were heading home Sunday evening when the wreck occurred. The father often took his son and his 12-year-old daughter along when he dropped off equipment and picked up his paycheck on Sundays, the friend said.

Braswell's daughter was home sick Sunday night, the friend said.

Authorities also found that Tellez was wanted for violating the terms of his probation. He was convicted of drunken driving in 2005 and has a suspended license, authorities said. Authorities said they believe alcohol played a role in Sunday's wreck.

Raleigh police weren't required to inform immigration officials of Tellez' prior arrest because he was charged only with a misdemeanor and had a valid driver's license, said Jim Sughrue, spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department.

Braswell is survived by his wife and a 12-year-old daughter. A visitation will be held from noon until 2 p.m. Thursday at Raleigh First Church of the Nazarene on U.S. Highway 70 in Garner, followed immediately by funeral services.


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  • steel1 Mar 9, 2007

    jmr-stop making excuses. the difference between legal and illegal is one crosses the desert and the other waits in line.

  • G.R.I.T.S.2 Mar 8, 2007

    My heart goes out to this family in their time of grief. The outpourings here serve one purpose. You are not alone in your grief, despair and outrage.

  • jmr Mar 8, 2007

    I will again ask, Does anyone know the difference between being illegal and being legal? MONEY!!!!

  • CT6 Mar 8, 2007

    I totally agree with steel1. These 2 people would still be here if this man WAS NOT here. His immigration status has everything to do with this, and the immigration status of countless others have everything to do with a great number of crimes committed here in our country, because those crimes would not have occurred had it not been for these people being here illegally. The government needs to wake up, and something needs to be done to get these people out of here and keep them out!

  • Americana Mar 8, 2007

    My heart goes out to all who have lost a dear one in the hands of drunk drivers. I agree that race is not an issue here , however we have enough problems with our own citizens driving drunk , we don't need people that are here illegally to add on to to this. Let them drive drunk in their own countries. Another problem is that these people don't have insurance, so who pays double? WE DO!

  • TechRescue Mar 8, 2007

    My daughter's roomate at NCSU was murdered by a illegal immigrant driving while intoxicated - two other children died in the same accident. Less that two weeks later, another drunk illegal immigrant killed two more people. Make no mistake about it - a 2-ton car in the hands of a drunk is no less dangerous that a firearm. Ask any SHP officer if illegals driving drunk is a problem. We can't stop these people from driving drunk but we should at least do everything we can to assure that they do it IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY!

  • steel1 Mar 8, 2007

    kma1005-ignorance? are you kidding me? i personally don't give a damn if they're mexican,cuban,guatamalan,or whatever else! GET IT! sounds to me like your the ignorant one here, denying we have a problem. you need to wake the hell up."his race nor his immigration status are a factor". are you STUPID? not a factor? if he wasn't here illegally he these two human beings would be alive!!! NO, NO FACTORS HERE!

  • kma1005 Mar 8, 2007

    Ignorance caused this accident and ignorance florishes even more on these comment boards. Spanish speaking does not mean Mexican nor does it mean illegal. This particular person may be here illegally but that isn't the problem at hand. ANYONE legal or not, hispanic or not can drink and drive and have an accident and kill someone, ANYONE. This man should be held accountable for his actions just like any other person would be held accountable for their actions. His race nor his immigration status are a factor. I wish the best for all involved.

  • LibertarianTechie Mar 7, 2007

    Instead of deporting those found to be here illegally, lets hold them in jail, no bond, and then they will be here at the trial, and then be found guilty of being here illegally and then send them back to Mexico, or whereever else they came from. Oh, we can make them feel more at home by heating the plane and making them where orange winter jackets.

  • steel1 Mar 7, 2007

    snake-i agree buddy, but it's a nice thought.