Alarm, concern over President Trump's tweets about I-70 fatal crash

President Donald Trump speaks to a gathering of mayors in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Trump weighs in on I70 fatal crash
Fatal crash getting national attention
Published:
Updated:

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - There was alarm and concern from some after President Donald Trump's tweets about a fatal crash caused, police claim, by an intoxicated illegal immigrant.

The crash Sunday on I-70 in Indianapolis killed an Indianapolis Colts linebacker and the Uber driver transporting him.

Some victims of other drunk driver incidents and ministers serving immigrant congregations reacted to President Trump's twitter posts on the subject.

"Instead of focusing on the actual issue, we are making it an issue of a death by an immigrant," said Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown, president of Faith of Indiana. "We could close the border and I guarantee you we would be faced with people being killed by drunk drivers."

Manuel Orrego-Savala's blood alcohol level, according to police, was nearly three times the legal limit when his pickup truck crashed collided with Jeffrey Monroe's vehicle.

Investigators claim Savala is in the country illegally and has been deported twice.

One of Trump's tweets focused getting tough on immigration but made no mention of getting tough on drunk drivers.

"The immigration status is immaterial to the thing," said Dan Towery, president of Drive Sober of Greater Lafayette

Towery's daughter and her boyfriend were killed by a drunk driver in a 1999 crash. He's an outspoken advocate for drunk driving prevention efforts.

"The reason that two individuals were killed is because somebody is intoxicated and drove, period. My reaction is let's get tough on drunk drivers."

In one tweet, President Trump offered prayers and best wishes to the family of Edwin Jackson and said nothing about Jeffrey Monroe's family.

"I haven't had time to process any kind of anger or anything like that," said Monroe's nephew, Steve Deuty. "It's just sadness."

On Monday, prior to President Trumpss tweets, Eyewitness News asked if Savala's alleged illegal immigration made any difference to the family.

"Sort of, but no," said James Lamber, Monroe's brother-in-law. "There's so many people in the country now that's not gone through the ways of being here to become a U.S. citizen."

Savala is scheduled to be formally charged on Wednesday.

EARLIER STORY:

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that it's "disgraceful" the driver to hit and killed an Indianapolis Colts player and his Uber driver was in the country illegally.

"This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!" he wrote.


Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, faces four preliminary felony charges and is being held on a $40,000 bond in the Marion County Jail. ICE has a hold on him, as well.

Indiana State Police say early Sunday morning, Orrego-Savala crashed a pick-up truck into two men stopped on in the emergency shoulder on I-70. Jeffrey Monroe, an Uber driver, and 26-year-old Edwin Jackson, who played for the Indianapolis Colts, died in the collision.

Police say Monroe had pulled his vehicle over to help Jackson, who was sick. Both men got out of the vehicle and were struck by the pick-up.

Investigators say Orrego-Savala ran from the scene of Sunday's crash.

When troopers caught him on a highway ramp, court documents say a portable breath test showed the 37-year-old had a blood alcohol level of .239, nearly three times the legal limit of .08. A blood draw was taken at the scene, as well, the results of which won't be back for at least a week.

The Indianapolis Colts confirmed to WTHR.com's Bob Kravitz on Tuesday afternoon that team owner Jim Irsay will pay for the funerals of both Jackson and Monroe.