A Tennessee State University student died Saturday when another driver broadsided her vehicle on Old Hickory Boulevard.
Metro police said 24-year-old Victor Benitez was drunk as he ran a red light at the intersection of Old Hickory Boulevard and Nolensville Road, killing 22-year-old Joycelyn Gardiner.
“Just a tremendous young lady, from all accounts, who had all types of potential,” said Don Aaron, Metro police spokesman.
“According to the witnesses who attempted to render aid to both victims, Benitez smelled strongly of alcohol and was very combative,” Aaron said.
Investigators said Benitez was drunk and did not touch the brakes of his Ford Expedition before hitting Gardiner’s car. She died a short time later at the hospital.
Benitez had come “out of the shadows” to commit other crimes, but it appears no one bothered to check his immigration status or do anything about it:
Police said Benitez was driving without a license and that he didn’t have paperwork verifying that he was in the United States legally.
“They learned that he is a suspected illegal immigrant, thus, a federal hold was placed on him so he cannot make bond,” Aaron said.
In February 2006, Benitez was convicted of car burglary. Nine months later, he spent seven days in jail for public intoxication and resisting arrest. The Mexican native now faces a vehicular homicide charge.
Via Nashville’s NewsChannel 5, here is Gardiner’s car after the wreck:
And here is the callous perpetrator:
Benitez received a head laceration and a broken rib, injuries he was treated for at Vanderbilt before being released into the custody of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.
He was later identified as an illegal immigrant from Mexico and ordered held without bond…
…No information on Benitez’s blood alcohol content was immediately available, and police described him as an “alleged drunk driver” even though his only current charge is vehicular homicide.
At the same time, police were quick to point out that Benitez, whose physical identification was issued in Texas, was on two separate occasions convicted of a total of four criminal charges in Nashville.
He was arrested in February 2006 on three counts of car burglary and two counts of attempted theft. Two months later he was convicted of one count of car burglary and sentenced by General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland to one year of supervised probation.
On Nov. 5, 2006, Benitez was rearrested on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The following day he was convicted of all three charges and sentenced by General Sessions Judge William Higgins to seven days in jail.
In April, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office officially launched what they called a public safety program to run instant immigration checks on every foreign-born person booked into the Metro jail, regardless of the arresting charge.
The program was sought in response to multiple fatal DUI crashes committed by illegal aliens, many of who had been previously arrested and convicted in Nashville but not identified as illegal.
You’ll recall that Heather Steffek of Nashville lost her parents to an illegal alien drunk driver and launched a campaign against deportation failures. Sovereign nation or sanctuary nation? You can do something about it.