Wrong-Way Driver's Victim Laid to Rest, Suspect Transferred to Jail
MILWAUKEE - An alleged wrong way drunk driver accused of killing a 34-year-old mother has made an appearance in court after being released from the hospital.
41-year-old Leopoldo Salas-Gayton spent Friday morning in the Milwaukee County Jail after having cash bond set at $200,000.
A judge set his preliminary hearing for next Thursday.
Michelle Friedman said her close friend Corrie Damske was supposed to come over Friday night for a party.
"Tomorrow, we're going to her funeral instead," Friedman told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray. "I will miss everything about Corrie"
Corrie died New Year's Day in an I-94 crash blamed on Salas-Gayton. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department says Salas-Gaytan had previously been twice ticketed by Milwaukee police for driving without a license.
The sheriff's department says Salas-Gaytan also admits he's an illegal immigrant. Immigration authorities said they have not heard of him until now.
"According to ICE records, we have had no prior contact with this individual. But, we have placed a hold on him now," said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson Gail Montenegro.
State Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) is upset Salas-Gayton would face a jail sentence here before deportation.
"Send Leopoldo back to where he came from and use the saved taxpayer dollars to help reduce the injury and death caused by drunk driving," Zepnick said in a statement.
But Michelle Friedman says that's not the focus of Corrie's family.
"It's not about his immigration status," Friedman said. "This is about a beautiful woman who lost her life to drunk driving."
Michelle is hoping her friend's death will result in stiffer drunk driving penalties. She said a billboard company is donating space for Corrie's picture with the message 'THINK don't DRINK.'