Judge denies bail reduction for foreign trucker accused of killing diplomat

| 3/9/2007

A Pennsylvania judge has denied a bail reduction request by a native of Ghana accused of rear-ending and killing an employee of the Honduran embassy in Washington, DC.

According to the Associated Press, Hempfield Township Judge Mark Mansour said he wouldn't decrease trucker Sam Thompson's bond below $100,000 because lawyers didn't counter prosecutor's claims that Thompson was in the U.S. illegally.

Thompson faces a charge of homicide by vehicle after his tractor-trailer hit a car and killed a passenger in it, Nuria Ortiz-Miranda, 31, of Washington, DC.

In February, Pennsylvania State Police Sgt. Anthony DeLuca told Land Line that Thompson was distracted and slammed into the back of a Volkswagen Jetta at about 5:52 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 as the Jetta slowed down to exit the highway.

The impact from Thompson's truck pushed the Jetta nearly 250 feet from the crash's initial impact.

"He wasn't paying attention," DeLuca told Land Line in mid-February. "He forgot to watch what he was doing."

Thompson's attorney told the judge that Thompson is a legal resident who came to the U.S. with a visa in 1997 and married an American citizen, The AP reported.

The victim, Ortiz-Miranda worked for the Honduran embassy as a trade and investment promotion counselor, according to the embassy's Web site.

The four-wheeler's driver, Julio Anibal Marinada Nigro, of Chile, suffered cuts to his face and neck pain from the crash and another passenger, Pablo Octavcio Miranda Nigro, of Washington, DC, was also injured.

-By Charlie Morasch, staff writer