As ICE, sheriff dispute responsibility for hit-and-run suspect's release, some say others culpable in crash

Concern over hit and run suspect's jail release
Concern over suspect's release

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - There are concerns over the whereabouts of a hit-and-run driver who left a church day care teacher seriously injured.

No one knows whether Juana Loa-Nunez, who is in the country illegally, will show up for her hearing next week.

It comes amid a war of words between immigration officials and Marion County over why the woman was released on bond Thursday.

"I refer to this as a travesty of justice. Four days in jail for something that's going to last Jessica a lifetime," said James Jackson, pastor of Fervent Prayer Church.

Jessica Parks, who has worked at the church day care for two years, was hit early Monday morning as she walked to work. The driver of the car, Juana Loa-Nunez, allegedly fled the scene. She was stopped minutes later by a day care bus driver who cut her off.

With Loa-Nunez now released on bond, Jackson fears she is long-gone from Indiana.

"She could be in Houston, California, who knows," Jackson said. "It's so easy to blend in and change your name."

While immigration officials and the sheriff's department argue over who's responsible for releasing Loa-Nunez, Jackson believes she's not the only one culpable.

"Someone plated that car, someone bought that car, did they have insurance?" he said. "Someone paid $250 to get her out of jail."

Jackson wants to know who. According to charging documents, Loa-Nunez had just bought the Nissan Altima "from a man named Ricardo" and had "never received a driver's license issued by Indiana or any other state."

"We have to make sure we're holding people accountable so they'll think twice about helping people who they know they're not supposed to be doing what they're doing," he said.

He said he's reached out to a state senator and representative to see what more can be done to go after those who "aid and abet" other breaking the law when it comes to situations like Jessica's.

Jessica said last week Jessica said she forgives Loa-Nunez.

"I just want to let her know that. I forgive her. And sometimes if you're scared, fear can make you do something that's unnecessary."

Eyewitness News reached out to Jessica to see if she wanted to comment on Loa-Nunez being released on bond. She declined. A day care colleague said Jessica is focused on healing and staying positive.

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