The Mexican farmhand charged with vehicular manslaughter in Saturday nights fatal crash and now listed as an illegal alien had been working for about eight years, since he was a teenager, at Sheland Farms, according to the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department.
But by which name did farm owner Douglas W. Shelmidine know him? Was he Amado Hernandez-Alvarado, the 23-year-old from Mexico City man jailed in the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building? Or was it by his undisclosed work name, the name the laborer wrote on his I-9 federal employment eligibility verification form?
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman declined Monday to say whether Sheland Farms, County Route 79, Ellisburg, is being investigated for hiring illegal aliens. Mr. Shelmidine has declined answering reporters questions.
Detective David J. Pustizzi Jr. of the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department said Tuesday the migrant workers presented I-9 documents to Sheland Farms that contained assumed names.
Oh, thats my work name, a worker told authorities during questioning, Mr. Pustizzi said.
When the owners of Butterville Farms, Smithville, came under federal investigation in April 2011 for hiring illegal aliens, an official told the Times that by law, farmers are not allowed to ask questions about a potential employees work legality. Despite that, one of the owners, John Barney, who had gone by what he saw on an I-9 form, was arrested, and he eventually pleaded guilty and was fined $3,000.
Rafael Espinoza, 33, Quintana Roo, Mexico, a passenger in Mr. Hernandez-Alvarados pickup truck who died from blunt force trauma and a neck fracture, also had his work name on the I-9 form, the detective said. He was first hired at Sheland Farms in March 2011, Mr. Pustizzi said.
A third migrant worker at the farm was taken into federal custody as an illegal immigrant, Mr. Pustizzi said. That person was not involved in the accident.
Mr. Hernandez-Alvarado was also charged with driving while intoxicated, driving without a license and speeding.
Mr. Pustizzi said blood test results are being awaited for determination of his blood alcohol content on the night of the single-vehicle truck rollover, which occurred at about 9:25 p.m. on Lake Road in the town of Ellisburg.