Immigrant involved in auto accident

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 29, 2006

A pickup truck driven by a confessed illegal immigrant failed tostop for a stop sign and struck a car head-on Thursday night,according to law enforcement officials.

The pickup, driven by Julio Franco, 21, who claimed to be livingin Monticello, was turning onto East Lincoln Road from MallalieuDrive around 9 p.m. when the truck collided head-on with a cardriven by Cris Simmons, 50, of 1219 Rainbow Lane, said LincolnCounty Sheriff’s Department Capt. Dustin Bairfield.

Sheriff Steve Rushing said three witnesses, including a nurse,stopped to lend assistance to the crash victims.

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According to witnesses, Bairfield said, Franco did not stop atthe intersection.

Franco, Simmons and a passenger in the truck, Jose Maldonado,25, of Washington, were transferred by ambulance to King’sDaughters Medical Center, Bairfield said.

Franco was treated and released Thursday night and wasimmediately placed under arrest on charges of reckless driving,possession of beer, no insurance and no driver’s license, Bairfieldsaid, adding that other charges are pending.

“He said he was illegal,” Bairfield said, but the sheriff’sdepartment has been unable to confirm his legal status. “We’retrying to contact the immigration service now.”