WASHINGTON, April 24, 2017 — A drunk driver who killed an Illinois motorist on New Year’s Day had been deported three times before the accident. Esteban Tomas hit LaDonna Brady shortly after midnight on January 1, 2017, as Brady was exiting from I 74, near the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.
Both were taken to Carle Medical Center, where Tomas admitted to Illinois State Troopers that he had been drinking. Brady later died at the hospital. According to her husband, Eric Brady, though Illinois State Police troopers knew she was dead and knew Tomas had been drinking, he was still released with a “notice to appear” in court. After his release, Tomas went missing, failing to appear for his January 17, 2017, court date.
This action may have occurred because Illinois State Troopers initially believed that Brady was at fault.
“Leatherwood [the trooper in charge] further explained that based on information given to them by witnesses on the scene it was believed that LaDonna was traveling east bound in the west bound lanes on Interstate 74 when she collided with a vehicle driven by Tomas.”
But Eric Brady said the initial reports were inaccurate, and only so, because police refused to do the initial investigation properly, observing
“Had the Trooper in command of the scene taking the time to consider (ask) the EMT/Paramedics assessment of my wife’s conditions at the time, Trooper Leatherwood, would have been aware of my wife’s failure of a heart beat/life (measured by EKG). He would have called in the ‘on call’ ISP Reconstruction team and the direction of travel of both vehicles would have been determined at the scene prior to any news release.”
Eric Brady told CDN that his wife was coming home from work at the local American Legion Hall on a route she had taken hundreds of times, and stated that the suggestion she was going the wrong way on that route was ridiculous.
It was eventually determined that Tomas, 33, was traveling the wrong way on the road, not Brady. Worse, his blood alcohol level was more than .2.
At the time of the accident, Tomas did not have driver’s license but provided a passport for ID. It is not clear, however, if that passport was legitimate. CDN has learned that not only was Tomas drunk that evening. He’s also an illegal alien who, according to data provided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to Eric Brady and shared exclusively with CDN, had already been deported three times:
- Tomas originally came into ICE custody on February 20, 2002, in Kansas City, MO and bonded out of custody on February 28, 2002. He was ordered removed in absentia (which means he did not show up in court) in January 2003. He remained an ICE fugitive until he was encountered by ICE officers at the Warren County Sheriff’s Office on July 14, 2010 and was taken into ICE custody the same day. He was removed via the ICE Chicago Office on September 9, 2010.
- ICE systems also indicated he was previously encountered in Arizona by Border Patrol in October of 2011. His removal order was reinstated and he was removed to Guatemala in November 2011.
- He was apprehended by Border Patrol agents in December of 2011 in Rio Grande City, Texas. He was last removed in January 2012, once again to Guatemala.
Brady said not only does he believe that the Illinois State Police botched the initial arrest. He also believes that they are withholding information from him. “I am currently still waiting on the ISP Police report, as well as the reconstruction report,” he said.
An email sent to the Illinois State Police to ask for their protocols on identifying illegal immigrants during arrests was left unreturned. A similar email to the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office, which is handling the prosecution, was also left unreturned.
Both Champaign County and Urbana, where the accident took place and where the hospital is located, have some form of sanctuary policy in force, though it’s not clear what role, if any, such policies have played in this case. Urbana’s city council, where Carle Medical Center is located, only recently passed its sanctuary ordinance in December, 2016.
Brady believes his wife’s killer is loose because of a breakdown in law and order, stating
“I have discovered that the nation that I once had great pride and trust in, has allowed local law enforcement to blindside myself and a great number of others with a malaise of disrespect and disregard of life for the honest hard working citizens of this nation. Allowed programs to be created of significant financial burden to the tax payers, to support these criminals, without any support for the victims of the crimes committed by those criminals.”