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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

November 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Chinese student convicted of fatal Des Moines crash deported

aaaaaaaXU YICHUN

Yichun Xu (Washington State Department of Corrections photo)

A Chinese national who caused a fatal crash in Des Moines in November 2012 has been deported and is barred from returning to the U.S. for 10 years, according to a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Seattle.

Yichun Xu, 21, was released from the state Department of Corrections (DOC) on Oct. 6 and was immediately booked into the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, said ICE spokesman Andrew Munoz. He went before an immigration judge on Nov. 6, who ordered his deportation back to China, Munoz said.

On Thursday, ICE agents escorted Xu to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where they watched Xu board a non-stop flight to Beijing around 4 p.m., then watched the plane take off in what is known as “an unescorted removal” from the country, Munoz said. Xu’s flight was paid for by the U.S. government, he said.

Xu pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and three counts of reckless endangerment for the Nov. 10, 2012, crash and was sentenced in March to 17 1/2 months in prison, court records show. He was given credit for about 4 1/2 months he spent in the King County Jail and had an earned release date in early October, according to court records and a DOC spokesman.

Xu was 19 and had been in the U.S. for two months attending South Puget Sound Community College when he purchased a Mercedes-Benz C300 with cash, court records say. He’d had the car for four days when drove at 70 mph on a residential street in Des Moines, ran a stop sign and slammed into another car, seriously injuring four people — all family members who were on their way to a birthday party, the records say.

Brenda Gomez-Zapata, the 25-year-old driver of a red BMW that was broadsided by Xu’s Mercedes, suffered a traumatic brain injury and later died. Her 14-year-old brother and another 14-year-old relative were critically injured, and a third 14-year-old suffered broken bones and other injuries.

Xu suffered a leg injury and one of his passengers was treated for a head injury.

According to charging papers, Xu had $542 in his wallet at the time of his arrest and “requested several times that in lieu of being booked into jail, he requested to bail out right away,” charging papers say.

His parents immediately arrived from China and posted his $2 million bail.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: China, deportation, fatal crash

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