Young Teacher Dead After Illegal with Criminal Past’s Thanksgiving Hit-and-Run: Report

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The 24-year-old man charged in Thursday’s hit-and-run death of a Texas teacher was reportedly in the United States illegally, according to KFOX14.

Joel Velazquez has been charged in the death of Amanda Ferguson Weyant, 28, who was killed just before 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning while walking in an El Paso crosswalk.

Police said Velazquez allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Mesa Street and Cincinnati Avenue while driving a red 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier and struck Ferguson, the El Paso Times reported.

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Velazquez was arrested Saturday after he turned himself into police. After his arrest, he was put on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention hold and cannot post bail to get out of jail, KFOX14 reported. The local news outlet said that Velazquez appeared to be in the country illegally.

“He’s destroyed my family. My daughter, Mandy, was the glue that held my family in place, she was my everything,” said Dan Ferguson, the victim’s father.

“I saw where my daughter was hit and where her body was 50 feet from the point of contact. He didn’t even attempt to stop to render aid,” Ferguson added.

Ferguson said Velazquez, “because of his careless actions, has destroyed a complete family.”

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At the time of the hit-and-run incident, Velazquez was out on bond from a 2017 arrest. He had been charged for allegedly punching a neighbor in the face after the neighbor told him to stop smoking marijuana because it bothered the neighbor’s children.

“It just doesn’t add up, it doesn’t seem to be fair,” Ferguson said.

“Everything was perfect in her life and to have it all taken and senselessly destroyed this is something no parent should go through.”

Weyant was a sixth-grade teacher at Eastwood Heights Elementary School.

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On Friday, a memorial service was held for the 28-year-old teacher, KVIA reported.

“I have no words to express why Mandy has left at such an early age. I was happy to give her a hug the very first day she was born and the last night before she died I got to hug her and tell her I love her,” her father said at the service.

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