The wanted man charged in a hit-and-run crash that killed a McCaskey High School junior and seriously injured another was not only driving on a suspended license but was also on house arrest, according to officials.
A judge sentenced Kristopher Martinez-Roman, 24, of Lancaster, to house arrest last year regarding a DUI conviction, according to the Lancaster County district attorney’s office.
The evening of May 24 he drove through a red light on King Street, striking a vehicle with the students inside, according to police. The driver, Isaia Candelario, 16, died not long after at the hospital. His passenger, who has not been identified, continues to fight serious injuries at Lancaster General Hospital.
In addition to being on house arrest, Martinez-Roman was under a DUI-related license suspension, according to district attorney's office spokesman Brett Hambright.
His license had been suspended for several years and was to continue to be suspended for several more years, according to Hambright. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said it does not give driver-specific information on license suspensions.
“This is a devastating tragedy as it is. The involved driving suspension and house-arrest element are beyond upsetting,” Hambright said.
On house arrest
Judges have the authority to order house arrest as an alternative to prison, Hambright said.
House arrest is not "not a virtual jail," according to Mark Wilson, director of Adult Probation and Parole Services in Lancaster County. It does however, set parameters on daily activities.
In most house arrest cases in Lancaster County, a person wears a radio frequency anklet that connects to a base station in a home and tracks their activity. They can be given windows of time to leave for work, medical and educational reasons, Wilson said. Their probation and parole officer can get daily activity reports.
More than 770 of the nearly 10,000 people supervised by Adult Probation and Parole Services were placed on electronic monitoring last year, according to the office’s 2017 report.
"There's no physical barrier that prevents them from walking out the front door of their house whether they have a 'window' or not," Wilson said. "But they generally do not get in a hit and run vehicle accident."
Earlier the evening of the crash, Martinez-Roman turned in his electronic monitoring anklet, according to Wilson. He had lost his permanent housing situation and was in a brief period of not being under house arrest conditions while finding a new address, according to the district attorney's office.
If a person on house arrest needs to find a new place to live, they are given a few days, usually up to five business days, to do so, Wilson said.
The district attorney's office said its stance is that prison time should be immediately considered when an offender can't meet house arrest conditions, Hambright said.
That decision would be up to the court, not probation and parole, Wilson said.
"After reviewing everything that was done, the case was handled appropriately and as we would normally handle situations like that," Wilson said.
It’s not clear why Martinez-Rivera’s license was suspended initially. In Pennsylvania, suspensions can be the result of convictions on criminal charges or traffic violations.
He was charged with driving with a suspended license in 2015.
He was again charged with driving on a suspended license along with DUI after a traffic stop in December 2016 in East Hempfield Township. Police stopped him after noticing that a brake light on his car wasn’t working. He also was driving on a suspended license, according to charging documents. Charges were filed in January 2017 after blood test results showed he had marijuana in his system.
According to state law, it takes six suspended license convictions before jail time is required.
Officials still searching
"We continue to ask for the public’s assistance in getting (Martinez-Roman) in custody. Any tips on his whereabouts and activities in recent days are appreciated and will be vetted," Hambright said.
Police said they are focused on finding Martinez-Roman. Additional officers have been pulled from other assignments to work on the crash investigation, Lt. Bill Hickey said Thursday.
Police have not received many tips from the public on his whereabouts, Hickey said.
They also want to find Josue Rivera, 29, who has a criminal record and is wanted on outstanding warrants in Lancaster and Philadelphia.
"He was in the car. He knows what happened," Hickey said.
After the crash police shared photos of two Rivera and another man. They got a lot of tips and were able to identify that man. Police identified him but are not charging him. Hickey declined to say whether they had spoken with him or not.
Anyone with information about Martinez-Roman is asked to call Lancaster Bureau of Police at 717-735-3301.
Tipsters also may call Lancaster City/County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-322-1913 or anonymously text LANCS plus their tip to 847411 (TIP411).