Genaro Delacruz Ajqui, a native of Guatemala, was arrested on Thursday for his involvement in the June 1 crash in Jupiter, Florida that led to the deaths of paramedics Paul Besaw and Lahiri Garcia.
Ajqui, 39, is being charged with vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, driving without a license causing death, and DUI damage to person/property. He was arrested after he was released from St. Mary’s Medical Center on June 15. He is being held at Palm Beach County Jail. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to the arrest report, the crash took place outside Colonial Plaza on Indiantown Road in Jupiter. Garcia, 51, and Besaw, 36, were driving an ambulance west on the road to the American Medical Response (AMR) station on Indian Creek Drive after dropping off a patient at a nearby hospital.
Ajqui was reportedly driving a Chrysler Sebring east when he tried to make a U-turn in the median and collided with the ambulance. The impact overturned the ambulance and heavily damaged the right side of the Chrysler. The two paramedics died at the scene. Ajqui was critically injured and was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center for treatment.
“The AMR family has lost two amazing people. They were dedicated husbands, fathers, friends and teammates,” Bill Hall, regional director for AMR, told news sources.
Ajqui’s wife, Mary De Leon, reportedly told Jupiter police that her husband had been drinking when she arrived at the crash site. She said he had been yelling and slurring his speech, and that he had been drinking an alcoholic drink made from “apples.”
According to news sources, Ajqui is in the U.S. illegally. A Jupiter police spokesperson told the press that his immigration status will be dealt with by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
An ICE spokesperson said that he did not have enough information to comment on the case. However, the criminal proceedings of illegal immigrants take priority over deportation hearings. If an immigrant is convicted, they would have to serve whatever time is imposed by a judge before being turned over for deportation proceedings. If a person is charged but acquitted, they could still face deportation hearings.
Court records reportedly show Ajqui has been cited for several traffic violations over the past decade. He was cited three times for driving without a license and once for not having a tag for his vehicle. He pleaded guilty in each case and paid a fine.
Dawn Besaw, the wife of Paul Besaw, told news sources that she didn’t understand how Ajqui was still allowed to drive after being cited for traffic violations on so many occasions.
“How can you explain that to me? He’s been picked up for driving without a license and other driving violations, and he is still driving? How is that possible?” Besaw reportedly said.
The Florida legislature has passed tough DUI laws because of all the deaths that have been caused by drunk drivers. As a minimum requirement, anyone convicted of DUI crimes in Florida must receive a combined sentence that may include driver’s license suspension, community service, DUI classes, vehicle impoundment, court costs, fines, and payment of restitution.