Illegal immigrant pleads guilty in drunk-driving deaths of teens

The Associated Press
Monday, August 13, 2007
VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia: An illegal Mexican immigrant pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of two Virginia Beach teens killed when the drunken man crashed into their car at a stoplight.

Alfredo Ramos, 22, faces up to 40 years in prison, then deportation, on the two counts.

"I'm guilty, judge, of all the charges," Ramos told the court, speaking through a translator.

Police say Ramos' blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit for driving in Virginia on March 30, when he slammed into the car carrying Alison Kunhardt, 17, and Tessa Tranchant, 16.

Police believe he was driving about 65 mph (105 kph), 20 mph (32 kph) over the speed limit.

Ramos, a waiter at a Mexican restaurant in Virginia Beach, first told police he had not been drinking. He later admitted having about five beers before the crash.

The case sparked an uproar in the coastal Virginia area and beyond, as critics questioned why Ramos — who had numerous alcohol-related charges — was allowed on the road. Conservative TV personality Bill O'Reilly upbraided Virginia Beach authorities for failing to report Ramos to immigration authorities before the wreck.

In May, Virginia Beach police announced officers would begin asking suspects from other countries about their immigration status during arrests.

Ramos has lived in the United States for about seven years.

He answered questions simply, "Si, senor," Monday, as tearful relatives of Kunhardt and Tranchant looked on.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 5. ... ughter.php