Criminal Investigation Underway In Death Of Man Left At Taco Bell


UPDATED: Thursday August 23, 2012 6:32 PM

A criminal investigation has been launched into the death of Uriel Juarez-Popoca, the man who was killed walking along a road after authorities dropped him off at Taco Bell. 

There was already an internal investigation in the case, but 10 Investigates found out that officials are looking into misdemeanor charges involving dereliction of duty.

The main question of the investigation - why did officers from two police agencies decide to drop Juarez-Popoca at a Taco Bell, even though they had reason to believe he was drunk while operating a vehicle?

A Delaware County deputy dropped off the highly intoxicated Juarez-Popoca who walked into traffic along I-71 and state Route 36/37. That's where a car struck and killed him.

A law enforcement source told 10 Investigates that Juarez-Popoca had no license, was a driving a car he did not own, and wound up snared in a cable barrier by the time that deputy showed-up.

We are not naming the deputy because he has not been charged. He handcuffed Juarez-Popoca, but took him to the Taco Bell instead of jail.

The deputy declined to answer the door and answer any questions from 10 Investigates on Thursday. He is currently on administrative leave. The incident report shows that the deputy faces a criminal investigation for dereliction of duty.

The report is dated August 16 which is more than two weeks after Juarez-Popoca died.

Another deputy is also part of the investigation and the report indicates a patrol trooper is as well. He's 37-years old and has been with the patrol for nearly 10 years.

He also showed up on the scene, but so far nobody has said whether the trooper believed Juarez-Popoca was drunk or his exact role in dropping the man near a busy highway instead of jail.

The trooper is still working, but not on the road. He has been assigned to administrative duties.

The prosecutor expects to get the case from investigators next week.

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