Widow speaks out on immigration in light of alleged DUI accident

Cheryl Mitchum.

By Valencia

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - When Cheryl Mitchum heard about the car accident in which police say an illegal immigrant crashed into six people on Ashley Phosphate Road, she says she was filled with emotion.

"I was sitting on the sofa with my son and it just broke my heart," said Mitchum. "It just brought back everything."

Police say Felix Garcia-Romero was drunk when he drove his car into an accident scene. Officials say his car hit a firefighter, a medic and four bystanders.

That accident has an eerie resemblance to the one that killed Mitchum's husband.

Seven years ago, Mitchum's husband Michael was run over by an illegal immigrant driving without a license.

"When he hit his car, Michael fell forward. And the guy tried to flee the scene and when he did, he ran over and killed my husband," Mitchum said.

Jonise Kelvin, who was 18 at the time, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and driving without a license. Mitchum says Kelvin served 18 months in prison before being deported back to Honduras.

"I was angry at our government. I was angry at the system," said Cheryl. "I was angry because people would come up to me and say well he's just trying to make it better for himself. Well, so was I. So, was my husband."

Mitchum says accidents like these will keep happening until there's a change in the system.

"Let's make it a process. Let's make them learn English," Mitchum said. "If they want a driver's license and you want to work hard and you want to work for your citizenship, you can have it."

Since the accident, Mitchum has taken on her own form of advocacy. She now teaches English to Charleston's growing Spanish-speaking population.

"Maybe in some way I could help another family from going through this by teaching somebody English," Mitchum said. "Maybe they'll learn to respect the laws and better themselves."

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