04/17/06 — GMS driver could leave county jail today

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GMS driver could leave county jail today

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 17, 2006 1:49 PM

A man who pleaded guilty to driving into two Greenwood Middle School students in November, severely injuring them as they walked to school, was expected to be released from the Wayne County Jail as early as today.

Wilder Feldemar Mejia Alverado's term in jail was up this week, local authorities said. Meija Alverado, 24, was to be released to probation officers and then instructed to report on his own to the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Atlanta.

Meija Alverado, a native of Guatemala, is an illegal alien. Immigration officials met with him on Friday, said officers with the Wayne County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities expressed dismay today at the way the situation was being handled.

"It is absolutely amazing to me that a double felon, who made every effort to conceal his identity from authorities, can be released and told to make his way to court in Atlanta," Wayne County District Attorney Branny Vickory said. "That is absurdity reaching the highest levels."

Vickory said immigration officials are simply overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of illegal aliens in the country.

"I think this shines a spotlight on how ineffective our immigration policy is at this time," he said.

Meija Alverado pleaded guilty earlier this month to assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 150 days in jail, minus the time he had served since the Nov. 18 accident. He was arrested at the scene.

He had been originally charged with running a stop light, reckless driving, driving while his license was revoked and expired registration. Those charges were dropped.

Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell ordered Meija Alverado to be placed under probation, with the understanding that if he was not deported, he would be back in Wayne County court in May to have his probation restrictions intensified.

Meija Alverado gave officers at the scene of the accident a false name, but his lawyers said that was a misunderstanding due to the language barrier. Investigators later said he has used as many as six aliases on previous occasions.