A federal judge released an illegal alien who has now disappeared after being taken into custody for allegedly ramming a car into a daycare center, causing serious injuries to a teacher.
Juana Loa-Nunez was arrested on May 7 after she allegedly crashed her car into an Indiana church daycare center and then fled the scene, WTHR Channel 13 reported.
One teacher, Jessica Parks, was hit during the accident and suffered a broken leg and other injuries.
Loa-Nunez is reportedly an illegal alien who has no driver’s license. She was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, but by Friday, authorities released the suspect from jail without notifying U.S. immigration officials. The suspect has since disappeared, authorities said.
The sheriff’s department was severely criticized by Ricardo Wong, head of the ICE Chicago field office, who called the release “brazen.”
“Without any regard for the safety of its citizens, on May 10,” Wong wrote in a press release, “Marion County brazenly ignored an immigration detainer and released a Mexican woman from its jail without first notifying ICE.”
“Marion County allowed this woman to go free, and she continues to be a danger to anyone else who happens to be on the same road she drives,” Wong pointedly added.
But Marion County sheriffs deflected the criticism by saying a federal judge ordered them to release the suspect.
“Judge Sarah Evans Barker has ruled that ICE must provide a criminal warrant or a criminal probable cause affidavit for the County to detain undocumented individuals. ICE failed to provide such documentation, despite receiving timely notice. Thus, ICE allowed this individual to go free,” the sheriff’s department retorted in a release of its own.
The sheriff’s department added that immigration is a federal matter and not an Indiana law enforcement issue and noted that if ICE has a problem, it should take it up with Judge Barker, a Ronald Reagan appointee who has been on the bench since 1984.
Loa-Nunez posted a $250 cash bond on May 10 and then disappeared, according to reports.
The pastor of the church the suspect damaged was stunned by her release.
“That’s just a travesty of justice. This is not the way it should work,” Pastor James Jackson told the media.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.