News and Commentary

Woman Deported After Conviction In Car Crash That Killed 4 Children Arrested After Being Found Back In U.S.

   DailyWire.com
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seal is seen before a press conference discussing ongoing enforcement efforts to combat human smuggling along the Southwest border of the United States, July 22, 2014 at ICE headquarters in Washington, DC.
Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

A Guatemalan woman who was convicted and sentenced to to 12 1/2 years in prison after a 2008 Minnesota crash in which four children aged 9 to 13 were killed, then was deported in 2016 after serving eight years of her sentence, was arrested by federal immigration officials who found she had reentered the United States.

Olga Franco del Cid, 35, was arrested at her home in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, on Tuesday, as The Daily Mail reports. The Star-Tribune reported of the 2008 accident:

Responders at the scene found Franco del Cid behind the steering wheel, her right foot wedged under a crumpled dashboard near the accelerator. Her attorneys argued that her boyfriend was the one driving the van and fled because he didn’t want to be deported to Mexico. They argued that he was thrown out of the van on impact, and Franco del Cid was thrown into the driver’s seat.

The Daily Mail added, “At least 10 people were hospitalized for injuries suffered when the minivan broadsided the school bus after turning right on a country road. The bus rolled on its side and crushed the hood and cab of a pickup truck.” As MPR News noted at the time, the pickup driver, James Hancock, said from his hospital bed to the Star Tribune, “I saw the maroon van run a stop sign; it blew over the railroad tracks and hit the bus, sending it sliding into me. The next thing I knew, they were hauling kids out and it was chaos.”

In the crash, which got national attention, Hunter Javens, 9, and his brother Jesse Javens were killed along with Emilee Olsen, 9, and Reed Stevens, 12, of Marshall, as MPR News noted. MPR added:

Emilee’s mother, Traci, is a physical education teacher at the school. Reed’s mother, Kandy, is a former teacher. Lakeview Schools Superintendent Sheldon Johnson read a message from Kandy Stevens. “She wants people to know that Reed was a young man who loved God, his country and his family,” said Johnson.  “And he also loved his football family.  We know that he is with the Lord, and we ask all parents to give their kids an extra hug, tonight and every night.”

As the Duluth News Tribune reported of Franco del Cid, “She was convicted on 24 separate charges, including four counts of criminal vehicular homicide, and sentenced to more than 12 years in prison … While she was in prison, Franco del Cid began corresponding with Jerome Harvieux, now 36 and living in Maple Grove. The couple married in 2009 and they have a child together, but Harvieux filed for divorce in October, according to court documents.”

The Marshall Independent added, “During the trial, the defense argued that Franco del Cid’s then-boyfriend, Francisco Sangabriel Mendoza, was really driving the minivan that hit the school bus, and that the crash threw her toward the driver’s seat. Mendoza fled after the crash … The Pioneer Press reported that Franco del Cid’s marriage (to Harvieux) didn’t necessarily mean she could stay in the country — she would still go through a deportation hearing either during her sentence, or after it was complete.”