DWI suspect now facing felony death charge in fatal Knightdale wrong-way crash

Wake County News

A Mexican citizen who was previously charged in a fatal head-on, wrong-way drunk driving crash in Knightdale on April 8 is facing a new charge in the crash, according to arrest records.

According to North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers, a vehicle being driven the wrong way on U.S. Route 64 by Jesus Velez-Alvarado, 28, of Wilmington, slammed head-on into another vehicle around 1:50 a.m.

Velez-Alvarado was already facing multiple charges in connection with the wreck that killed Leroy Owens and left his wife, Lakeatia Daniels-Owens, on life support.

EARLIER: Man charged in Knightdale crash that killed husband, injured wife

According to court documents, Velez-Alvarado is already facing one count of felony serious injury by vehicle, one count of driving while impaired and one count of wrong way on dual lane highway. A new charge of felony death by vehicle was filed against him on Tuesday.

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Documents show that Velez-Alvarado “had [the] odor of alcohol on [his] breath, bloodshot glassy eyes, admitted to being drunk” at the scene of the crash.

Although he admitted to being drunk, the suspect refused an alcohol test, documents show. Despite his refusal, a blood sample was taken because a search warrant was issued and executed in the case, which legally gives authorities the right to take the sample.

A “DWI Findings Checklist” included with the court documents shows that Velez-Alvarado was “coherent and understanding of charges” and told authorities he was “just out riding around” when the crash occurred.

A Department of Homeland Security immigration detainer has been issued for Velez-Alvarado. According to the document, the suspect is a citizen of Mexico and there is “biometric confirmation” of his identity showing that he is not a United States citizen.

Velez-Alvarado made his first court appearance on Monday and was being held in the Wake County Detention Center under a $53,000 secured bond. He has another court appearance scheduled for this afternoon and his bond has been raised to $128,000.

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