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Sheriff can't pursue manslaughter charge after crash killed unborn child

The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested a man deputies say is an illegal immigrant after he allegedly ran from the scene of a crash that caused the death of an unborn baby.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested a man deputies say ran from the scene of a crash that injured a pregnant woman, causing the death of her unborn baby.

The sheriff's office said Bionel Cervin-Gomez, 48, is an illegal immigrant who was deported in 2000. Deputies captured him Saturday in Haines City.

READ HERE: Unborn child dies after crash caused by 'illegal immigrant,' deputies say

Investigators believe Cervin-Gomez left the scene of a three-car crash on Feb. 9 on Highway 17/92 in Davenport.

Courtney Belser's unborn son died because of the trauma she endured during the wreck. The pregnant mom was in the car with her husband and baby daughter. Everyone was okay except Belser's unborn son.

"I felt the impact, and I just knew something was wrong," Belser said.

She was eight months pregnant. Sheriff Grady Judd originally wanted to pursue vehicular manslaughter charges.

"They’re researching the law to see if the law will allow us to do that," Sheriff Judd. "Quite frankly, if it doesn’t provide for it, then I’m going to approach the Legislature and go, if the child is viable, what he’s done is he’s killed a baby and that’s what he did. He killed the baby."

After looking into the law, a spokesperson with the Polk County Sheriff's Office determined they won't be able to charge Cervin-Gomez with manslaughter because the crash was caused by a non-criminal traffic offense. Investigators believe Cervin-Gomez turned into Belser's right of way. 

Although there is surveillance video of Cervin-Gomez buying beer two hours before the wreck, the Polk County Sheriff's Office can't prove he was drunk at the time of the crash. Had he been charged with DUI, then the sheriff could have charged him with vehicular manslaughter because a criminal act like drunk driving would have been considered the cause of the crash.

The law does allow charges for the death of a fetus in a DUI situation.

Instead, Cervin-Gomez is charged with two felonies, leaving the scene of a crash with great bodily injury or death and driving without a license causing death or great bodily injury.

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