Suspect in Raleigh fatal hit-and-run deported in 2011
Posted November 3, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — The man charged in the hit-and-run deaths of two Wake Technical Community College students on Friday night has a history of driving while impaired and was deported in 2011 from the United States, according to prosecutors.
At a first court appearance Monday afternoon, a judge raised the bond for Mateo Guzman-Palacios to $510,000.
"How did he come back?" Jacob Wootsick asked. "There are just so many questions right now. I don't know where to begin."
According to a Raleigh police report on the crash, Guzman-Palacios, of 2201 Poole Road in Raleigh, ran a red light at Trawick Road and New Bern Avenue and struck a Honda sedan driven by Jacob John Wootsick, 28, of Louisburg.
Two women in his back seat, his girlfriend Naomi Mercury, 18, of Wake Forest, and Brittany Williams, 24, of Fuquay-Varina, died as a result of their injuries sustained in the wreck.
"From the moment that I looked back there, I knew it wasn't good," he said.
Wootsick was wearing Mercury's necklace Monday. He gave her the heart about a month ago. Now it's all he has left.
"They were both just beautiful women, great people," he said. "Anyone who knew them could tell you that. It is just a sad situation and, you know, it is unexplainable."
Guzman-Palacios faces two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license, failing to stop at a red light and two counts of felony hit-and-run. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also issued a detainer for Guzman-Palacios to notify local law enforcement that, no matter the outcome of the current criminal charges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement intends to take him into custody.
When police got to his house, they found Guzman-Palacios trying to hide evidence, prosecutors said.
Two other passengers in Wootsick's car, Nathan Lee Norris and Tyrone Marquis Daniels, both of Raleigh, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Wootsick was not hurt.
Guzman-Palacios told the judge that he had no money and would need to have a lawyer appointed to defend him. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 24.