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Semi Driver Killed In Hit & Run Identified, Suspect Driver Wanted By ICE

By Jamie Leary

DENVER (CBS4)- The Denver Sheriff's Department admitted Monday, it made a mistake when it let an undocumented immigrant, accused of causing a deadly crash, post bond before notifying Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

"Our staff should have sent a notification to ICE saying the individual is in the process of being released. For some reason that was not done," said Denver County Sheriff Patrick Firman. "We process about 15 to 17 of those a month. This is the first time that I'm aware the notification has been made after the individual was released."

The man arrested in the deadly hit-and-run that shut down Interstate 70 was formally charged last week. Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda is also wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for being in the country illegally. He was released from custody on $25,000 bond at 5:28 p.m. Saturday.

The man who was driving a semi truck when he killed in a hit-and-run crash last week has been identified as John Anderson of Lone Tree.

john anderson
John Anderson (credit: Facebook)

"I'm so angry at this it's... this bright shining light was put out by a drunk illegal immigrant who was allowed to post bond and leave," said Sonja Dahlbacka, a close friend who grew up with Anderson in Eureka, California.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement was notified of Zamarripa-Castaneda's release more than an hour after he bonded out, at 6:33 p.m. According to the Denver Sheriffs Department, "This is unacceptable and the sheriff has ordered an immediate internal review to determine why established notification processes did not take place before Zamarripa-Castaneda was released."

Zamarripa Castaneda Ivan copy
Ivan Zamarripa Castaneda (credit: Denver Police Dept.)

Police in Denver arrested Zamarripa-Castaneda, 26, after he left the scene of the crash between a pickup truck and a semi truck. The Denver Sheriff's Department says it was just after 1 a.m. Monday when they received a request for notification from I-C-E. The cause and manner of Anderson's death have not been released pending investigation.

"We verified that we did in fact have the notification on file. We know that was there and that's what kind of makes this even more baffling. We have this process in place that's worked for every other notification for release so that's what we need to figure out through this investigation is what happened," said Firman.

ivan zamarripa castaneda john anderson i70 brighton crash
(credit: CBS)

Zamarripa-Castaneda has been formally charged with vehicular homicide, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

"This is about keeping our community safe and so we need to make sure that we're playing the part that we need to in that," said Firman.

The City of Denver does recognize requests for notification as well as criminal warrants from ICE, but it does not recognize detainers which ICE also requested in Zamarripa-Castaneda's case.

"It basically requests that we hold an individual past their release date up to 48-hours and allow ICE to come and pick them up. We have been told that that's illegal, that it's a violation of their 4th amendment rights and so we have not honored those since about 2013," said Firman.

All lanes of the interstate were closed after the crash for more than 12 hours.

I-70 Semi 1 (castro)
(credit: CBS4)

Officer Marika Putnam of the Denver Police Department said a semi pulling a refrigeration trailer collided with another vehicle, a pickup driven by Castaneda, that was merging on to the highway.

ivan zamarripa castaneda john anderson i70 brighton crash
(credit: CBS)

The vehicles collided and struck a jersey barrier. The semi's cab and trailer both caught fire.

ivan zamarripa castaneda john anderson i70 brighton crash copy
(credit: Cody Dill)

Zamarripa-Castaneda was arrested at his home in the 2600 block of West Bayaud early the next morning.

I-70 Semi 2 (castro)
(credit: CBS4)

"We are all so angry. He didn't deserve this," said Dahlbacka. "We didn't deserve this. Denver didn't deserve this. It feels like the government has turned their back on us."

Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn't imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.

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