A southwest Iowa man is gathering signatures in hopes of finding some justice for his daughter who was killed by an alleged drunk driver earlier this year.
Scott Root, of Council Bluffs, says the man charged in the fatal crash was in the U.S. illegally, yet was released on a very low bond and is believed to have fled the country.
Now, Root wants the judge who set that bond punished. “I’d called Officer Swanson at the police station and he said, ‘Scott, I’m trying to get an ICE hold on him and I’ll call you back in 10 minutes.’ In about 10 minutes he called back and said, ‘I’m sorry to inform you, he’s been bonded out,’ the same day you’re burying your kid,” Root says.
Omaha police say the suspect, 19-year-old Eswin Mejia of Honduras, was street racing and driving drunk on January 31st when he rear-ended the SUV driven by 21-year-old Sarah Root of Council Bluffs, killing her. Root had graduated the day before from Bellevue University with a 4.0 grade point.
Bond was set by the judge on Mejia at $50,000 and he was released after posting the standard 10 percent, or $5,000. He hasn’t been seen since. Root wants that judge to answer for his actions. “Everybody should be held accountable for what they do, or what? They don’t keep their job,” Root says. “In my eyes, I don’t believe he should (keep his job). He should resign or have some type of repercussion for what he did. Whether it be not looking at the facts or choosing to look the other way. I don’t know what it is. I just don’t get it.”
Police say Mejia’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit and he was driving on a suspended license when he was speeding and caused the accident. Root wants to see Mejia — and the judge — held responsible. “If you look at the facts of this gentleman’s past, even prior to killing my daughter, that shows you what kind of person he is,” Root says. “If you don’t think it’s right, you think (the judge) dropped the ball, give me a signature. Maybe it’ll change somebody else’s life. Maybe it won’t but if you don’t try, nothing is going to happen.”
Root says he’ll be collecting signatures on his petition Saturday starting at 11 A.M. at the corner of 78th and Dodge Street in Omaha. He says he’ll take the petitions to the Nebraska Supreme Court.