Suspect in Seattle fatal hit and run of bicyclist is illegal alien

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has requested a retainer on the man arrested in the July 2011 fatal hit and run of a bicyclist in Seattle.

Erlin Garcia Reyes, 28, of Normandy Park, was arrested for felony hit and run on Wednesday.

ICE officials have confirmed to 97.3 KIRO-FM that Garcia-Reyes is in the country illegally.

Police believe Reyes was the driver of an SUV that fatally struck and killed 44-year-old Michael Wang on July 28, 2011. The SUV hit Wang as the driver made a left turn on Dexter Ave. North in South Lake Union. The suspect fled the scene.

Police released few details during a news conference Thursday, at which they announced the arrest but declined to say what had lead them to Garcia-Reyes nearly a year after the alleged crime.

According to court documents, Garcia-Reyes confessed to the crime when confronted by detectives and led them to the spot where the accident occurred.

A spokesperson for the Seattle division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that they have requested Reyes be transferred into their custody once released from the King County Jail.

The spokesperson said that any local, criminal case against Garcia-Reyes will take precedent over deportation proceedings.

"Having a criminal conviction ... a felony or egregious felony, does weigh heavily on our decision," said an ICE spokesperson. "ICE priorities are to remove illegal aliens, especially those who have proven to be a danger to public safety."

According to the Seattle Times, Garcia-Reyes in a native of Honduras and has been in the U.S. for five years.

Wang, a married father of two, was an avid bicyclist and photographer for PATH, a global health non-profit. He had commuted by bike from South Lake Union to his home in Shoreline and back for years.


Brandi Kruse, KIRO Radio Reporter
Brandi Kruse is a reporter for KIRO Radio who is as spontaneous and adventurous in her free time as she is on the job. Brandi arrived at KIRO Radio in March 2011 and has already collected three regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her reporting.
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