Supporters rip immigrant father's jailing in boy's death

Grieving father has a tattoo of the face of his only child on his chest.
TNS Regional News
Dec 31, 2013


Saying that his client is nothing more than a grieving father — one so devoted that he has a tattoo of the face of his only child on his chest — an attorney for Natividad de Jesus Hernandez said the man should be making funeral arrangements for his son, not sitting in jail.

Immigration advocates agree. Lawyers, advocacy groups and social-service organizations are mobilizing to help Hernandez and his family, in part because they say that a $500,000 bond for a man being held on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash that fatally injured his 4-year-old is outrageous.

“This is an extraordinarily high bond in this type of case and could ... simply be a way to prevent the government from summarily deporting Mr. Hernandez out of the jurisdiction,” said Joseph Mas, a Columbus criminal-defense lawyer who does not represent Hernandez but is chairman of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition and is among those trying to help.

Hernandez, 30, is a native of El Salvador, and authorities say he is in the United States illegally. Immigration officials have filed paperwork to begin deportation if he is released from jail, prosecutors said during Hernandez’s arraignment yesterday in Marysville Municipal Court.

“The overemphasis on immigration status is unfair,” Mas said.

Hernandez has been in the Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg since Thursday, the day that 4-year-old Angel Gustavo Hernandez either fell or got out of the family’s van at a residential construction site on Brock Road in Union County about 11 a.m.

The State Highway Patrol has said that Hernandez was there to steal scrap material to sell, but when a work van pulled into the site, he backed out of the driveway and over Angel.

When a Union County deputy sheriff and an ambulance arrived, the emergency personnel grabbed the child from Hernandez’s arms. Deputy Scott Anspach, a trained emergency medical technician and firefighter, jumped in to drive the ambulance when he saw that all the paramedics were busy trying to save the child. The dashboard camera in his vehicle continued to record, showing that Hernandez and his girlfriend’s two children stayed by the side of the road unattended for about three minutes. Then they got into the van and left.

Scott Culbert, Hernandez’s attorney, said yesterday that the video clearly shows that Hernandez was left alone and had no idea what to do: “This is a bad case against him as far as the hit-skip."

Culbert said that Angel was Hernandez’s only child and that he is devastated: “He’s a father whose son died on his watch,” Culbert said. “This man should be pitied, not judged.”

Angel was pronounced dead at OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, where Hernandez showed up about 1 p.m., two hours after he had left the scene of the crash.

Sheriff Jamie Patton said yesterday that if his deputy could do it over again, he might have made it clear to Hernandez to stay at the crash site. But at the time, Patton said, Anspach was focused on saving the child and knew that another deputy and troopers were on the way to the crash site.

“At that moment, in that instant, it’s all about saving a life,” Patton said. “I can’t fault him.”

For now, immigration advocates are focused on not only how to help what they see as an injustice done to Hernandez, but also how to properly bury Angel, said Josue Vicente, the executive director of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition.

The child’s mother is in Honduras, and the family has no means to raise the estimated $5,000 to send the boy’s body home.

Culbert said yesterday that Hernandez was not at the construction site to steal materials. The lawyer could not say exactly why his client was there.

Public records from the Union County sheriff’s office indicate that Hernandez told officials at the hospital that he had strapped Angel into the van, but when he walked around to the driver’s door and got in, he didn’t realize the boy had somehow left the van.

“There’s no one suffering more right now than Mr. Hernandez,” Culbert said. “No matter what anyone does to him, he’s already serving a life sentence.”

Local ministry The Manger has started a fund at to help raise the money needed to send the 4-year-old's body to Honduras.

Robin Schuman runs the organization, which helps families at Christmas, many of them Latino.

After learning that there was no money to get Angel home to his mother in Honduras for a proper burial, she and others from her organization and her church began contacting Latino groups and Hernandez's lawyer to see how to help.

The fund was set up this morning; anything left over after burial expenses will go to help the other children who witnessed the crash — counseling services, etc. — and to help meet their needs.


By Holly Zachariah - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services



I have my opinions of course, so as not to get into a race war. One question
Why are there sooo many groups/charities out there who help the latino side of illegals, minorities, poverty, criminals?
So as to not even go to the "legal" American what if's.
Let's stay with the illegal.
What if the guy was Russian? Polish? etc.
Would there be groups involved? Press releases?
I just don't get when sooo many laws were broken and sooo many factors could have been different.
On top of it, they're wanting/almost to the point of expecting "OTHER PEOPLE's" money to help fund?


These people travel everywhere they need to go to feed their families and if that means coming here and working at some of the lowest and dirtiest jobs that Americans will not do,so be it. Unemployment is high everywhere, look at Huron county, does that mean there is no jobs or is it because people refuse to work for min. wage. This illegals do not receive unemployment benefits. Your bigotry is no excuse for your lack of compassion. You don't want to sent money DON'T!!!


I asked a question, but instead of answering you chose to immediately go for the liberal phrase of "no compassion". You started that..Getting old.
What about anyone else??? That is what i am asking.
Where is the equal if a certain race always is placed first? Even among "ILLEGALS"!! is the latino race somehow more superior than the russian?polish? india? etc
and don't forget, he wasn't trying to apply for a "JOB".
seems to me, when a person showed up in which he could have asked where to apply... he got in a rush to leave??? which is where the WHOLE unfortunate instance began!


I guess anyone can ask a stupid, race baiting, strawman argument, question and think that it is intelligent thought. What is getting old is underachievers who like you who believe that they are the suppressed "victims" of, in this case, Latino preference. Don't you have enough to whine about, like the imaginary "war on xmas" for example, without exposing your phony concern for others, especially when it involves the tragic, accidental death of someone's (anyone's)child?


Coward.?? Was he in the middle of stealing..when for reasons rushed into escaping?
Was he in a foreign land illegally?
Was he looking for work?
Was he planning to work??
and yes i for one, a middle age white American man who has a great paying job and still made it even without the race card benefits seen for the past 20+yrs.. and am tired of all the "caring do good'rs" who ALWAYS feel for the illegal or minority, which by my thoughts have had the same if NOT better avenues to be successful, Yet still are NOT!! and STILL have there hand out!
Go figure?
Maybe if you'all stop with the poor baby stuff, people would go thru the system, enter legally, and maybe...just maybe succeed in there dreams like so many did over a 100 yrs ago, before multiple handout organizations, and multiple excuses.
and YES for your concerns, the begging, poor me, never get a break crowd has bleed over into the true American culture, So it is NOT a Race thing in which i talk about.


The child had nothing to do with anything, he is the one whose death you used as yet another opportunity to spout your bigotry, so, yeah, you're a coward. Cowards don't usually tell the truth, so, your claim to have a "great paying job" is dubious, at best.


You always seem to be concerned about others getting something you don't get or something you think you work for and they don't. You seem to have no compassion for anyone or the ability to see other sides of situations. Whether he was illegal or not, he lost his CHILD. He was probably here doing jobs that you nor most other Americans would even consider doing. I am not FOR illegal aliens nor am I for handouts, I am just against your attitude, which is a big part of society's problems.

JudgeMeNot's picture

He was going to commit a theft. He was taking his child with him. I hope he gets deported.


I am a Mex American with a great paying job and made it without the race card for over 40 yrs and have had to deal with people like you. You hide under the high mighty white world where you are the minorities savior and we all have a hand out. You made it a race card! Poor pitiful you trying to do only what is right of all tax paying superior people.How do we know your ancestor's were legal? You must be a very blind middle aged white American not to notice your own bigotry.Did he do a crime-yes!, will he pay for it- yes! Did he lose a child he loved- you answer that. That should concern you more than,he is illegal.As for handout organizations, there are more of your people receiving it. Get after them!!! And by no means is this a RACE THING I am talking about.

JudgeMeNot's picture

He was here illegally. Get over it.


You asked a question and did not get an atta boy answer like Dr. info. No Latinos are not nor do they want to be the superior race like some of you. This paper is littered with other crimes ( drugs,wife beaters,burglaries,rapist,etc)and what is different? They are not Latino's!Your concern should be these stories about a much larger race than the minority you seem to hate so much. Find out what their ancestry is and attack them, coward!

JudgeMeNot's picture

The latinos are the ones bringing the heroin to the area.


And you have valid proof to back up your "somewhat"(note sarcasm) racist statement?

Dr. Information

Sad story. Ship his butt outta here. No excuse.


Ain't gonna happen, the "job creators" need his hard work. You, on the other hand...AMF!

Dr. Information

He's here illegally, is caught stealing and then runs over his kid and kills him. Sad story but the moral here is, if he wasn't stealing, this wouldn't of happened. He only has himself to blame. He isn't being held in jail for the accident. He's in jail being held because he's yet another illegal. AMF!!!!!


The boy was not stealing, yet he is dead and yet you used this tragic accident to attack, "...another illegal". That, is one pathetic thought process, NO EXCUSE!

JudgeMeNot's picture

Your right the boy wasn't stealing, Just learning the trade of stealing.

JMOP's picture

What I see is a grieving father who caused his child's death by an accident. No race card is needed to try to comprehend the most tragic of losses. Pain and suffering, is pain and suffering, no matter what the ethnic is.

I'm a conservative, who believes in less government, not to beat a broken man down even more. He has to live with this tragedy forever. There's nothing worse that can happen to him. That's sad.


I feel very sympathetic for the family on the loss of the child. I don't, however, feel sorry for the father. Were he not committing a crime, this baby wouldn't have been killed in his rush to flee the scene.
This man's supporters need to ask themselves how much sympathy they would have for him if it was their house or their business he was stealing from. Or, how much of a rush would there be to keep him out of jail if it was their child he drove over?
Race has nothing to do with the fact that during the commission of a felony he murdered his own child. If he wants to be in the United States, he should be held to the same standards as others that have committed like crimes.