On Monday this week, one Carlos Martinelly-Montano, aged 23, was driving his parents’ Subaru at 8:30 am after an early-morning drinking binge. From the southbound lane of Bristow Road in Virginia, he hit the center barrier, entered the northbound lane, struck another barrier, and then collided with a northbound Toyota.
The Toyota was driven by Sister Connie Ruth Lupton, aged 75, of a Benedictine order in Richmond, Virginia. She was critically injured and one of the two nuns in the back seat was killed – Sister Jeanette Marie Mosier. She had become a nun at the age of 18, had taught English in parochial schools, and had been a missionary in Africa. Her younger sister, Mary Ann Lamb, stated:
•She was very full of life and had this zest for life, and yet she was very grounded and focused in her direction to serve the Lord.”
The other back seat passenger, Sister Charlotte Lange was critically injured. The nuns were on their way to Bristow for a spiritual retreat. Montano himself was only slightly injured.
Five Years of DUI History
Montano was charged with DUI, involuntary manslaughter, and driving with a license revoked because of his previous DUI charges. This was Montano’s third DUI count in five years. He and his family had entered the U.S. illegally back in 1996 when he was eight years old. They have remained here illegally and in 2007, Montano, his parents, and his sister obtained work permits from the Department of Homeland Security although their illegal status was not changed.
According to a report in the Washington Post of August 4, federal and local authorities still regard him as an illegal immigrant. After his second DUI arrest in October, 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials filed papers to begin his deportation. While he waited for his hearing, scheduled for April 21, 2009, he was released on his own recognizance. His hearing was then postponed:
•To May 7, 2009; then
•To December 3, 2009; then
•To August 19, 2010.
Federal officials are citing privacy laws as their reason for not commenting on this failure to conduct the hearing. According to a Homeland Security Department statement issued on August 3, Secretary Napolitano “has ordered an immediate review into the circumstances leading to this individual being released in 2008” and the reasons why no hearing has been held.
Checking on Legal Status in Virginia
Virginia Governor, Robert McDonnell said on Tuesday this week that, pursuant to Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, he has spent months trying to get an agreement with the federal government for training state troopers to check on the legal status of people they apprehend for some reason, and refer them for deportation if they are in the country illegally. Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli II, issued his opinion on Monday that police are authorized, although not required, to ask anyone they apprehend about their immigration status. McDonnell told reporters:
•”I think local law enforcement officials have had the authority for a number of years.”
Virginia also has a law passed in 2008 that requires jail personnel to check the immigration status of everybody who is arrested and taken into custody. These provisions for checking legal status are similar to those in the new Arizona immigration law, and again there is opposition from groups who support illegal immigration.
The Nuns Take Care of Their Own
Meanwhile, the two nuns injured in this fatal car accident are still in intensive care at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Their monastery has organized a roster of volunteers to visit them in the hospital, two at a time, and family members have also been visiting.
Sister Charlotte Lange, aged 70, has had surgery and is apparently now in a stable condition. She had been a high school principal for 20 years and the current principal has received a flood of phone calls from grieving students. Her younger sister, Sister Anne Marie Lange, aged 71, has been updating the monastery on her progress.
Of all car accident causes, driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the most common and also one of the most easily avoidable. For more on auto accidents, please see our Auto Accident FAQ page.
If you or a loved one has been badly injured in any type of car accident, our experienced car accident attorneys can help. Please contact us today if you would like to schedule a free case evaluation. Our office is in Mobile, Alabama and we serve all of Baldwin County.