Grand jury to hear case in fatal Christmas crash

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 11:45pm

A Davidson County grand jury will hear the case of a suspected illegal immigrant who is charged in a fatal Christmas morning car crash in south Nashville.

Details revealed during a preliminary hearing Wednesday in General Sessions Court paint a familiar picture of a suspected drunken driver weaving in and out of traffic and crashing into an innocent motorist.

Police say Ramon E. Neri, 22, was intoxicated when he lost control of his Chrysler LHS and crashed into oncoming traffic near the intersection of Haywood Lane and Locustwood Lane at 8:30 a.m. Christmas morning.

“Mr. Neri was driving toward I-40 on Haywood Lane and he left the roadway, struck the guardrail, reentered the roadway, went into oncoming traffic and the collision occurred,” Metro Officer Harold Burke testified.

As Neri’s vehicle crossed the oncoming traffic, he entered the path of a Mitsubishi Galant driven by Moni Rai, 22. Rai’s vehicle struck the passenger side of Neri’s vehicle, police said.

Although there were no witnesses to the crash, Rai had three passengers, one of whom called 911.

Neri and Rai's backseat passenger, Tika Koirala, 46, were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Rai and her other two passengers were taken to Southern Hills Medical Center.

Burke testified that a Vanderbilt nurse told police Neri “had been drinking and that he smelled of alcoholic beverage.”

Officers issued a verbal request to hospital staff to administer a blood alcohol test, which came back with a blood alcohol concentration of .16, above the Tennessee legal limit of .08.

During questioning by Neri's public defender James McNamara, Burke stated there was no physical evidence collected from Neri's car that indicated he had been drinking.

But Burke testified that Neri's inability to keep his vehicle in his lane caused the collision that landed five people in the hospital. Neri was charged with vehicular homicide when Koirala died Dec. 29.

The officer also addressed the issue with properly identifying Neri, who is suspected of entering the country illegally.

Officers were first provided information that Neri’s last name was Olea, Burke testified. When no driver’s license information was found by that name, Neri was charged with driving without a license and released into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


4 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 1/7/10 at 8:37

How many more citizens are going to be killed by illegals before the government does something about it?

By: robertmack on 1/7/10 at 10:57

The corrupt federal government and even posibly state government are not going to do anything about it. They want the illegal-south of the border-immigrant votes. They registered at motor voter registration. Either that or stole a license. They never give their real names. Who knows, they probably don't know their real names or maybe can't ever write it. I say deport all illegal aliens, all that are found, send them packing immediately.

By: waitingintn on 1/7/10 at 11:23

A very sad story indeed...but also a very poorly written article...Haywood Lane at Locustwood is NOT in any way going towards's between Nolensville Road and I-24 (Haywood Lane never makes it to I-40 folks)...and then in the 7th paragraph you imply that the backseat passenger, Tika Koirala, was apparently in BOTH cars.

Does anyone proofread anymore????

That being said...the illegals have no respect for our country nor the laws of our country. They don't want to become citizens nor for the most part are they interested in becoming members of our society. And by the way...if you've ever driven in'll understand quickly...try renting a car in Mexico...US insurance companies won't cover you there and local insurance is pretty expensive....seems like they drive like it's a demolition's insane!

So....why does our government not only allow the illegals to stay...but we also pay for their health care, subsidize their housing, and allow them to work jobs where they pay no taxes...WHY? It's time to STOP!

By: BEOWULF on 1/10/10 at 8:05

BEOWULF: ILLEGAL by any other name is...ILLEGAL! When are the patriotic citizens of the USA going to demand that our laws be INFORCED? Some lily-livered PROGRESSIVE Leftist Socialist Pigs want AMNESTY & CITIZENSHIP for the So-O-De-Border illegals in this country. What an electorate that group would make! If we stand idly by and let this happen; pure socialism will reign supreme, constitional freedoms will be lost, and all the reasons our forefathers fought and died for to create these UNITED STATES of AMERICA
will fade into obscurity. ILLEGAL is ILLEGAL...Crush it before it crushes us!