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Suspect in Raleigh fatal hit-and-run deported in 2011

Posted November 3, 2014

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— 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.

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  • Barely Nov 4, 2014

    No way. Wow. Who would have thunk it.

  • sanacito Nov 4, 2014

    Hasta cuando? Until when? How much more do we need to suffer before we wake up?

  • jackaroe123 Nov 4, 2014

    It is impossible to secure the border 100% and there is no perfect solution through sentencing that will be both fair and ensure no recidivism.

    Knee-jerrk exclamations that we need to secure the border is reminiscent of 1984 where eternal war was the govt's goal b/c it created industry and a distraction. There is no simple fix. Chasing one blindly just lines the pockets of those who would profit off it and continues the distraction.

  • Ronald Nunn Nov 4, 2014
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    The only thing changing is the problem itself. It is getting worse.

  • PanthersFan45 Nov 4, 2014

    The News & Observer reported this guy has been deported 3 times since 2006. This isn't this guys 2nd time .... more like his 4th. Tells you how good our immigration system is working. Sadly 2 lives were lost and maybe this can finally be addressed in the PROPER way.

  • 1jalapeno Nov 4, 2014

    In California, with a prior conviction for DUI, he could be charged for murder. Makes sense to me. It's not like he didn't know that by driving drunk he could kill or seriously injure some innocent person.

  • Sean Creasy Nov 4, 2014
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    Let's see... Deported after his 4th DWI and yet he still managed to come back and kill two people.. Great job there Homeland Security!!! I feel that this guy should be facing terrorist charges for putting NC drivers at risk... The more I hear of this story the more I suspect that the reason he ran is because he was drunk.. Furthermore I also have one major question that hasn't been asked yet.. Just where was this guy's income coming from? Obliviously he was working somewhere and whomever he was working for needs to face some charges too.....

  • 68_dodge_polara Nov 4, 2014

    What a sobering reminder for election day.
    Kay Hagan voted Against Arizona's Immigration Enforcement Law in 2010

  • Gary Hutson Nov 4, 2014
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    In this case he probably didn't stop because he new he was here illegally after previously being deported.

  • Gary Hutson Nov 4, 2014
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    It should be a felony in my opinion causing a death while in the commission of a felony, that being a criminal trespasser in this country

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