Information is dribbling out about Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, the illegal alien from Honduras who crashed a party bus into a traffic pileup on I-10 in St. John the Baptist Parish on Sunday, killing two people and injuring some 40 others – and none of it is good.
And Amaya’s lengthy history as an illegal running wild outside the law now promises to make a few of Louisiana’s more high-profile public officials look like clowns.
At present, there is a major dust-up afoot between Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu over the issue, as yesterday Landry put out a statement noting how tragedies like the one involving Amaya over the weekend point out the danger in running sanctuary cities like the one Landrieu is running. Here was Landry’s statement…
“It comes as no surprise that Amaya-Rodriguez was living in metropolitan New Orleans, our State’s only sanctuary city. Sanctuary policies encourage the further migration of illegals into communities and cost a grave toll in money and safety, as was shown in the tragic deaths of St. John Fire Chief Spencer Chauvin and Jermaine Starr on Sunday.”
“Sunday’s tragedy highlights the need for a sound immigration policy, including the ban of sanctuary cities. Amaya-Rodriguez has been encountered by law enforcement over a half a dozen times in the last five years, yet he continued to roam the streets until he took two lives.”
That motivated Landrieu to fly into a rage and fling mud in Landry’s direction…
In a response Tuesday afternoon, Landrieu called it “shameful” that Landry “would politicize the fatal traffic accident for his own personal gain.”
“It makes no sense why he would attack our city – the driver of the bus does not live in in New Orleans and the company that employs him is not even permitted to operate here,” Landrieu said. “The old adage of never letting a good crisis go to waste is on full display.”
One suspects there might well be more blowback in Landrieu’s face now that this issue is at the forefront of public discussion, but for now one can only wonder what Landry is doing. After all, the mayor is correct – Amaya isn’t one of his illegals.
Rather, Amaya belongs to the New Orleans area’s other banana republic potentate – that being Jefferson Parish sheriff Newell Normand.
Let’s review what we have here with Amaya, shall we? From the Times-Picayune’s rather puzzled writeup about Amaya’s driving record in Jefferson over the past several years…
The State Police trooper who issued Amaya-Rodriguez’s most recent citation noted he’s never had a driver’s license.
It’s not clear how long Amaya-Rodriguez has been in the country. But law enforcement has been citing him for driving without a license in Jefferson Parish since 2012. Those incidents include:
-Sept. 16, 2012: State Police cite him with having no license during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 and Bonnabel Boulevard in Metairie. He paid $359.75 in court fines and fees.
– Jan. 15, 2013: The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office cites him with driving without a license, failure to maintain control of his vehicle and improper lane usage at Tolmas Drive and West Esplanade Avenue in Metairie. He paid $541.75 in court fines and fees.
– Feb. 24, 2014: The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office cites Amaya-Rodriguez with driving without a license and two counts of failure properly restrain a child in the 5900 block of Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie. The improper restraint counts were dismissed, but he paid $261.25 in court fines and fees.
– April 26, 2014: The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office cites him with driving without a license and making an improper right turn following a traffic crash on Cleary and West Metairie avenues in Metairie. The district attorney’s office dismissed the improper lane change charge. He pleaded guilty to having no license and paid $312.25 in court fines and fees.
Amaya-Rodriguez filed a civil suit in Jefferson Parish’s 1st Parish Court against the other driver in the crash seeking damages for injuries. But a judge ruled against Amaya-Rodriguez on Jan. 7, siding with the other driver’s insurance company, which asserted that Amaya-Rodriguez was at fault.
– Aug. 5, 2016: State Police cite him with driving without a license on I-10 at Clearview Parkway. Amaya-Rodriguez is due back in court on Oct. 5.
August 5. Not even four weeks ago.
But wait – there’s more! This from David Hammer at WWL-TV…
Amaya, 37, has pleaded guilty at least four times, in Jefferson Parish alone, to driving without a license and avoided jail time – let alone deportation – by paying nominal fines and court costs. He also had been booked on allegations that he punched his live-in girlfriend and struck that woman’s daughter with a cellphone – charges that later were dismissed.
Federal immigration officials focus primarily on deporting undocumented immigrants accused of violent crimes and other felonies. The State Police’s Matey said troopers are not trained to determine if people are in the country illegally and it depends on the circumstances of the crime whether they call federal immigration officials.
So here we have an illegal who doesn’t have a driver’s license who’s been getting tickets for at least four years, and twice five years ago he got arrested for beating up the woman he lives with, and it’s all in Jefferson Parish…and nobody is asking what in the wide world of sports Newell Normand has been doing during that time?
You remember Newell Norman, right? Mr. Law And Order?
Maybe you remember him as this guy…
That was when Normand came up to Baton Rouge in May to kill a bill backed by Landry that would have punished sanctuary cities like New Orleans and incentivized them to obey the federal law on illegals. Normand got his pal Danny Martiny to blow that bill up in a Senate committee before it could get to the floor, where it was expected to pass.
You can’t get much more egg on your mug than the purple-faced blowhard from Jefferson has right now, but unfortunately nobody seems to be willing to call him out for his statements trashing others for trying to do something about reining in illegals. Even now, when a one-man crime wave from Normand’s own parish that Normand’s deputies have done nothing to get off the streets has killed two people, including a fire chief from St. John. We might accept the fact that it’s the federal government’s failure to deport Amaya, rather than Normand’s, but we don’t accept his blustery self-congratulations about how tough he is on illegals now. Go tell that to the families of Jermaine Starr and Spencer Chauvin, Sheriff.
Landry should have taken a poke at Normand rather than Landrieu. It was Normand, after all, who yammered and whinged about the sanctuary bill until the committee killed it.
Normand owes the people of Louisiana an apology. His failure to do his job, amid his egotistical forays into state politics, have created some severe negative consequences. From now on, hopefully he’ll do a lot more of the former and considerably less of the latter – if, that is, it’s too much to ask that he withdraw from both.