JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. — A suspected human trafficker, smuggler and burglar is in critical condition following a high-speed chase in northwestern Florida Wednesday.
According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, authorities began questioning Domingo Morales Hamilton Fernando about a burglary in the Dogwood Heights community, when he drove off and led them on a chase that ended in a crash, WEAR reported.
Fernando was taken into custody at the scene, but deputies also discovered three minors in the vehicle, who all emerged “miraculously” unharmed, WTXL reported.
According to deputies, a 17-year-old girl crawled out of the car; a 2-year-old child was found standing in the backseat; and a 3-year-old child who had been ejected from the vehicle during the crash wandered out of a nearby wooded area, the TV station reported.
According to the incident report, investigators were unaware the children were present until after the wreck occurred. Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts told WTXL that the pursuing investigator would not have given chase had the children’s presence been known.
Fernando has since been identified through the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be in the country illegally and currently has an outstanding final order for removal from the United States. He was airlifted to Southeast Alabama Medical Center after suffering trauma to his head and face in the crash, the TV station reported.
According to the incident report, responding agents said that Fernando is suspected of illegal human trafficking and smuggling activities, and a warrant has already been issued for his arrest upon release from medical care.