Hit-and-run suspect originally told officers car that struck El Paso teacher was stolen


The 24-year-old man accused of striking and killing a 6th grade teacher originally told his father and police that the vehicle was stolen the night of the deadly collision, court documents show.

A complaint affidavit for Joel Velazquez said that police made contact with him and his father the day after he allegedly hit and killed Amanda Weyant Ferguson, 28, at 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving as she crossed Mesa and Cincinnati.

When officers met with owner of the vehicle, Jose Velazquez, he told officers his son, Joel Velazquez, told him to report the vehicle stolen, which he did that morning. 

Joel Velazquez went to police headquarters to give a statement and was read his Miranda Warnings. During his interview with police, Joel Velazquez told officers the car was stolen from Malolam Bar and he denied being involved in the deadly accident. 

Two days later, Joel Velazquez was taken to Central Regional Command by his father and told officers that he wanted to turn himself in. This time, Joel Velazquez admitted to being the driver in the crash and fleeing the scene, the affidavit said.

Joel Velazquez told officers he parked the vehicle in a nearby neighborhood, 1314 Cincinnati, and “tossed the keys” before calling a friend to pick him up. 

He admitted to officers that he had “five or six beers” and said he lied in his first statement because he was in the country illegally.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed on Wednesday that they have a hold for Joel Velazquez, meaning that if he bonds out or is found not guilty then he would be turned over to federal custody. 

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