Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Min Soon Chang, 18, freshman at University of North Carolina, was killed when his car was hit by one driven by Jorge Humberto Hernandez-Soto, illegal alien who had been shipped back to Mexico 17 times and convicted of DWI at least twice. Hernandez-Soto was driving more than 100 mph for 20 miles on the wrong side of Interstate 485.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Authorities say a suspected illegal immigrant was intoxicated Friday morning when his vehicle slammed into two others on Interstate 485. Jorge Hernandez, 35, is accused of driving more than 100 mph on the wrong side of the highway. His Ford Expedition collided head on with another vehicle, police said. "The crash last night was a severe impact," said Trooper Brian Huffstickler of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. "It was probably one of the worst crashes we've ever seen." The driver of the other vehicle, 18-year-old Min Soon Chang, was killed. Hernandez was injured, as was Tasha Beth Thomas, who was driving a vehicle that the Expedition sideswiped after the head-on collision.

Hernandez is charged with driving while impaired, and other charges are pending. Authorities are still trying to find out whether he has a prior record. "Whenever you're here illegally, it's very hard for us to maintain contact with the person after they're charged," Huffstickler said.

Chang was a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "My family is just destroyed right now," said Amos Chang, Min's brother. "They're just sad, depressed. They were in denial, but they can start to accept that my brother has passed on." Amos Chang said his own anger was intensified because Hernandez walked away from the crash that his brother could not. Elizabeth Cho, a family friend, said Min was a caring person.

I kind of saw him grow up. He always looked out for other people and showed concern for other people," Cho said. "My husband and I were just saying how sad it is to lose such a nice, young kid because he can do so many things in our future in this world."

U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., is working on legislation that would strengthen penalties against illegal immigrants who are convicted of DWI. She became vocal about the issue when Scott Gardner, a Gaston County teacher, was killed in July by an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk. On Friday, she commented on "another bright young life lost." Police said that Hernandez was driving for almost 20 miles on the wrong side of I-485.

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