Should hardworker be separated from family wife 4 children and 2 grandchildren been here almost 30 years?

ANDERSON — Jose Luna Cobarruvias pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of felony driving under the influence in the extensive injuries of a Greenville couple and the death of their 85-year-old passenger, Katy Eaton.

Cobarruvias, who is an illegal immigrant from Mexico but speaks English, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.27 when he was pulled from the wreckage of his van May 16, 2009. He was unresponsive, had no recollection of the accident and believed for weeks afterward he’d been a passenger in the vehicle.

The collision occurred on a rainy day on U.S. 29 southbound toward Anderson. Cobarruvias was driving 50 mph in a 55-mph zone when his van hit a puddle and swung sharply toward the left, witness Kassandra Smith said. The victims, riding in an Astro van, struck the man’s vehicle almost head-on.

Judge Lawton McIntosh asked Cobarruvias repeatedly if he understood that pleading guilty meant he couldn’t get a jury trial and could not in the future protest any Constitutional violations that might have occurred during his incarceration. When Cobarruvias failed to respond clearly, McIntosh delayed the hearing two hours so his attorneys could obtain an interpreter.

Cobarruvias has been in the country almost 30 years and cobbled together a living doing heating-and-air maintenance and light carpentry in the area. He moved here from California, where he’d attended some high school, about a decade ago.

Public defender Jennifer Johnson said her client spoke and understood English well but was not as clear on the American court system and the implications of his guilty plea – which include automatic deportation once he’s served his time for a felony. The Federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement division has a detain order on Cobarruvias pending his release.

The accident’s victims included Susan Sigmond, who suffered neck injuries, cracked ribs and a bruised spleen. Her husband, Raymond, suffered a broken ankle and two bruised ribs. Eaton sustained numerous internal injuries and died after five days in intensive care to extensive kidney damage.

Eaton’s brother refused to speak in court and Assistant Solicitor Jenn Byford said the Sigmonds did not appear because of the accident’s physical and emotional toll on their health.

Cobarruvias’ sister, Maria Luna, said she still couldn’t believe he was driving because he’d always made a point of finding a designated driver. His bruises after the accident and a broken right collar bone led family to believe he’d been a passenger.

Cobarruvias, 45, has four children and two grandchildren, all living in the Anderson area. Seven family members sat in the courtroom; another four, including two small children, waited outside. His daughters and wife sobbed when the sentence was announced.

“He is such a happy person,” Luna said. “Today, he looks so sad.”

Smith was riding in a truck behind the Cobarruvias’ van and said he was driving smoothly until he hit the water. She sat in the courtroom this morning and later consoled Eaton’s brother and several members of the Cobarruvias family.

“I had no idea he was drinking until the officer told me,” Smith said.

Cobarruvias’ attorney, public defender Jennifer Johnson, said her client was immediately distraught when he learned he had to have been the driver. She said he’d been speaking with his pastor in the days before the accident about his drinking problems and had been sober for six months until the weekend of the accident.

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11 Responses to “Should hardworker be separated from family wife 4 children and 2 grandchildren been here almost 30 years?”

  1. Jan Says:

    He doesn’t have to be separated from his family,he can take them all back with him.
    No sympathy for those who drive drunk and kill someone.

  2. kbcying Says:


  3. Anna P Says:

    He seems guilty of vehicular homicide and was VERY drunk. He knew he had a problem and still drank. Sorry, drunk drivers get no sympathy from me. After his prison term he may be deported but that’s not set in stone.

  4. Vision X Says:

    NO, but Arizona doesn’t have a problem with it. They are going after the hardworking people while ignoring the cartels and smugglers.

  5. charlie in mex Says:

    3rd time drinking and driving and an illegal. Honestly his ass should be in prison. When he gets out for nearly killing those people then he can talk about not getting deported.

  6. Brother_Hesekiel Says:

    Should we punish a criminal who entered the country illegally and hurt two people badly because he was driving drunk, again, without a license and without insurance?

    Yes, hell yes!

  7. Michael Says:

    I believe he should be executed not deported.

  8. Hoekom Jy My Haat Says:

    The only reason we need to deport him is that he is illegal. All the rest is just gravy.

    If he does not want to be separated from his family, have them move back to Chimmichongaland with him.

    Their impending separation is due to his actions, not those of the government that is rightfully deporting him.

    He is a drunk and a murderer on top of being illegal. Why is there even a question as to the outcome?

  9. Maricopa County Says:

    “He is such a happy person,” Luna said. “Today, he looks so sad.”Doesn’t appear the pastor go through to him. Nobody pity’s a drunk driver.

  10. Annie G Says:

    I can’t believe this question even has to be asked!
    1. He was driving drunk
    2. He’s here illegally
    He’s a freakin’ criminal for pete’s sake
    No sympathy from me on this one

  11. myopinion Says:

    If you are illegal.. get the hell out. If you have been here 30 bloody years, you know by now you should have become a citizen.. why didn’t you. No excuses.. go home.. and take your family with you.!