Local News

Suspect in triple fatal wreck under immigration detainer

Raleigh police say Francisco Martinez was driving the wrong way on the Inner Beltline Sunday when he hit a car, killing three people.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A man accused of drunken-driving in oncoming traffic and causing a triple fatal wreck Sunday was placed under an immigration detainer at the time of his arrest, the Wake County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed the detainer on Francisco Javier Martinez, 30, of 1925 Village Squire Circle in Knightdale, following his release Tuesday from WakeMed, where he was recovering from his injuries.

At that time, he was arrested and charged with one count of driving while impaired, three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, two counts of felony serious injury by motor vehicle, one count of driving the wrong direction and one count of driving without a license.

The detainer means Martinez would be placed in federal custody if he posts bail, under suspicion of being in the country illegally. Once the case goes through the legal system and any sentence is served, deportation proceedings would begin against him.

Martinez was traveling westbound in an eastbound lane on the inner loop of Interstate 440 early Sunday when the van he was driving collided with a Lexus near the on-ramp from Capital Boulevard, police said.

Guillermo Zintzun Jimenez, 26, Dagoberto Zintzun Jimenez, 21, and Santiago Pascual Tellez, 14, died at the scene.

During Martinez's first court appearance Wednesday afternoon, a judge ordered he be held under a $500,000 secured bond – an increase from $126,000.

Assistant District Attorney Tom Ford asked the bond to be doubled in light of the ICE detainer and because Martinez could be indicted on more serious charges.

Under the charges he faces now, Martinez could receive a maximum sentence of 59 months for each death charge.

Family members of the victims said they were returning from a party at the time of the wreck.
Tellez, a student at East Wake Middle School, was supposed to return home earlier with his brother but wasn't ready to leave the party when his brother did, relatives said.

A police report on the collision stated Guillermo Jimenez, who was driving the Lexus, had not been drinking. Dagoberto Jimenez and Tellez were not wearing seat belts, police said.

Two other passengers – brothers Jose Canuto Canuto, 24, and Louis Alberto Canuto, 21– survived. They were both at home Wednesday recovering from their injuries.

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Adam Owens, Reporter
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