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Mother of crash victim writes letter to Obama
First Published Jul 10 2014 06:20 pm • Last Updated Jul 12 2014 10:29 pm

Phoenix • The mother of an Arizona police officer killed in a collision with an intoxicated wrong-way driver who was in the United States without permission is demanding to know why the man wasn’t deported after being convicted in a Colorado criminal case.

Mary Ann Mendoza wrote President Barack Obama on Wednesday, demanding that he explain why Raul Silva Corona was allowed to remain in the United States and eventually kill her son.

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Corona, 42, and Mesa police Brandon Mendoza died May 12 on a Tempe freeway ramp when the off-duty officer’s car collided head-on with Corona’s vehicle early that morning.

"Why are any of these illegal criminals in this country? I am furious that the Federal Government allowed this criminal to stay in this country and KILL my son!" the mother wrote.

Mendoza also called for tighter laws that would prohibit immigrants illegally present in the United States from purchasing and registering vehicles without a driver’s license and would remove immigrants who are illegally in the United States and convicted of a crime.

The White House did not respond immediately Thursday to a request for comment.

Court records show that Corona had pleaded guilty to a criminal-conspiracy charge in Adams County, Colorado, and prosecutors dismissed charges of burglary, assault and leaving an accident scene.

Corona was a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, who had entered the United States without permission.

Corona, 42, collided with Mendoza after driving 35 miles in the wrong direction on three Phoenix-area freeways as other law enforcement officers responded to calls about the wrong-way driver and scrambled to intercept him.

Mendoza, a 13-year police veteran, was on his way home from work when he was killed.

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Corona’s blood-alcohol content was 0.238 percent, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said. A driver is presumed to be intoxicated in Arizona at 0.08 percent.

Mendoza said in the letter to Obama that her son was half-Hispanic and that she has no issue with immigrants who don’t commit crimes.

"But when you go into another country ... and commit a crime, that’s where I draw the line," she said.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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