Staff Writer
Feb 21

SEVIERVILLE — The man who allegedly struck and injured two Sevier County school students as they crossed Main Street Thursday morning is a Mexican national who is in the country illegally, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sevierville Police charged 46-year-old Pablo Hernandez Thursday with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury and driving without a valid license.

He was being held at the Sevier County Jail Friday with no bond set. Officials there said there was an ICE hold on him— meaning, even if he is able to post bond, the agency will have 48 hours to take him into custody before he is released.

“He’s a Mexican national unlawfully present in the U.S. in violation of federal immigration law,” ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said. “ICE will seek to take him into custody at whatever point he is released from criminal custody.”

Sevierville Police believe Hernandez struck two students, one 16 and the other 6, who were crossing Main Street to reach a bus stop for Sevier County Schools.

SPD hasn’t released the names of the students, but said the 6-year-old was in critical condition at UT Medical Center while the 16-year-old suffered injuries that were not life threatening.

The two juveniles were crossing the highway to reach some friends who were at the bus stop on the opposite side. Sevier County School officials said the bus picks up students on both sides of the highway.

Witnesses said they saw a blue pickup driving west on West Main Street strike the pair and then flee the scene.

SPD said they developed information that morning that Hernandez was driving the truck, and he came to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office to turn himself in a short time later.