Prosecution drops case against illegal immigrant charged with killing pedestrian

By AISLING SWIFT
Naples Daily News
Posted October 26, 2010 at 9:01 p.m.

COLLIER COUNTY — An illegal immigrant charged with killing a 34-year-old pedestrian during a hit and run in Immokalee in December got lucky when an eyewitness disappeared and another was deported before trial.

Assistant State Attorney Ashli Gagliardi filed a notice of nolle prosequi, dropping the case against Evaristo Lara Cruz, 24, of Immokalee. He’d faced up to five years in state prison if convicted of driving without a license and causing a death, a third-degree felony.

But Lara Cruz won’t escape punishment in the Dec. 8 death of 34-year-old Angel Manuel Toxpa: He’s being held in the Collier County jail and faces deportation to Mexico.

“We nolle prossed it because we didn’t have any ‘wheel witnesses’ to identify the defendant as the driver,