Trucker Headed to Prison and Facing Deportation After Deadly Hit and Run
Madras, OR – A trucker from Mexico has been sentenced to 13 months in prison and is facing the possibility of deportation following a hit and run incident that resulted in the death of an Oregon man back in January.
Jose Manuel Bernal-Mendoza, 47, of Mexico, entered a conditional “guilty” plea on July 1 following a fatal incident that occurred on January 21 in Madras.
He was sentenced to 13 months in prison for failing to stop following the accident.
According to Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche, Bernal-Mendoza was driving southbound on U.S. Highway 97 around 7 p.m. when he encountered Madras resident Anthony Shadley, 59, who was attempting to cross the highway at the NW Cypress Lane intersection.
Shadley, who was walking with two other men and headed to a local warming shelter, was fatally struck by Bernal-Mendoza’s big rig.
Court documents indicate Bernal-Mendoza spoke with his company’s safety supervisor following the incident.
Bernal-Mendoza told his company, Laredo, TX-based SBC Transportation Inc., he “swerved” to avoid a “dark shadowy figure” and “scraped” it.
He claimed he checked to see what he had hit, but alleges he did not see anything.
SBC reportedly instructed Bernal-Mendoza to notify local law enforcement of the incident, which he failed to do, claiming he did not have cell service at the time.
Authorities at the scene state Shadley’s body was on the side of the road in the fog line and he was “easily spotted” by motorists who called in to report the incident.
Debris left on the roadway following the incident determined the truck that fatally struck Shadley was a 2018 Volvo VNL series.
According to Detective Sargent Steve Webb, a chrome trim moulding piece from the truck’s center bumper on the right side, along with pieces from the right-side hood vent, were recovered at the scene.
Surveillance of nearby businesses and internal data from the Oregon Department of Transportation (DOT) were able to positively link the truck to SBC.
Cooperating with authorities, SBC confirmed to investigators the truck was being operated by a team of drivers… one of whom was Bernal-Mendoza.
He was located and arrested approximately 18 hours after the fatal accident while attempting to make a scheduled delivery nearly 900 miles from the crash site in Azusa, CA.
Authorities say he waived extradition and was returned to Oregon while the case was pending.
Bernal-Mendoza was originally charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for Shadley’s death, though those charges did not make it past a grand jury.
A forensic examination of the truck revealed Bernal-Mendoza was not speeding at the time of the incident.
Further, he was not under the influence of any alcohol or illegal substances.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Brentley Foster noted that Bernal-Mendoza was working the U.S. legally and did not have any other criminal history.
Further, Foster stated had Bernal-Mendoza not fled the scene after Shadley was struck, he likely would not have faced criminal charges and the subsequent prison sentence.
According to The Bend Bulletin, Shadley’s sister, Carol Shadley, told Judge Annette Hillman her family believed Bernal-Mendoza’s 13-month sentence was not long enough.
“This man took my brother’s life — an innocent man,” she reportedly said. “He shows no remorse whatsoever. He has no apology on his face of any kind.”
Contrary to Carol’s statement to Judge Hillman, Bernal-Mendoza appeared via video from the Jefferson County Jail and was seen staring down for much of the hearing.
He also had an interpreter with him.
“I am very sad for the family. It was not my intention to hurt that man and I send my most felt condolences,” he said, when given the opportunity to address the court.
Following Bernal-Mendoza’s 13-month prison sentence, he will receive three years of post-prison supervision, a five year Oregon driver’s license suspension and will be required to pay restitution for out-of-pocket expenses Shadley’s family incurred as a result of his death.
Additionally, authorities say Bernal-Mendoza will “likely” face deportation proceedings.