A deadly accident on Omaha streets continues to draw a lot of criticism from the public. On January 31st, 21 year old Sarah Root of Council Bluffs was hit by a vehicle. She was rushed to a hospital and later died. The driver of the other car, 19 year old Eswin Mejia is accused of street racing on a suspended driver’s license and authorities say his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
At Mejia’s bond hearing a judge set his bond at $50,000. A family member paid the required 10% and Mejia was released and failed to show up to a court ordered monitoring program. Mejia is an illegal immigrant from Honduras and hasn’t been seen or heard of since.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine says his office is getting a lot of heat for their handling of the case. He says, “You can blame a lot of people here but I don’t think the blame falls on the county attorney’s office here. We don’t set the bond. The judge does and we inform the court as much as we can or are allowed to. The responsibility here lies with the court.”
Kline says his office was not happy that a higher bond wasn’t set. He is also upset with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Kleine says, “I also blame ICE. That is the only responsibility they have is immigration and customs and for there not to be some system set up, and I’m working on this, whenever somebody is booked a red flag goes up with what their immigration status is. That isn’t happening. In fact, Omaha police, which did a terrific job here, went to ICE and asked please put a detainer on this person but they wouldn’t do anything.”
ICE states that Mejia did not meet the criteria for a detainer because he had no prior significant convictions. Mejia is also scheduled for an immigration hearing next month. Kleine says Mejia failed to show up to court on a traffic ticket for operating under suspension so it was obvious that he was a flight risk and a higher bond should of been set.
Kleine says authorities will continue to search for Mejia. Family members that posted the 10% of the bond are now required to pay the remaining $45,000.