South Carolina

‘Unfathomable’: Police say undocumented immigrant killed Lancaster man

‘Unfathomable’: Victim’s family outraged after cops say undocumented immigrant kills Lancaster man

The family of a Lancaster man killed Saturday by a man in the country illegally who police say drove without a license and on drugs is shocked the man was driving at all. Charles Byrdic, 60, died after he was hit by Abel Borbonio-Olivio, police say.
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The family of a Lancaster man killed Saturday by a man in the country illegally who police say drove without a license and on drugs is shocked the man was driving at all. Charles Byrdic, 60, died after he was hit by Abel Borbonio-Olivio, police say.

The family of a Lancaster man has voiced outrage that their loved one was killed by a driver who had a history of arrests and is in this country illegally.

Abel Borbonio-Olivio is charged with reckless homicide in Saturday’s death of Charles Byrdic.

Borbonio-Olivio had been arrested four times for not having a drivers license in the past 15 years, court records show.

Borbonio-Olivio, 42, who prosecutors say is from Mexico and in the country illegally, is now under a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.

Prosecutors say Borbonio-Olivio has used several name spellings in police and court documents, and his name is spelled differently on court records and Saturday’s arrest warrant, records show.

Borbonio-Olivio had two prescription drugs in his system, had no driver’s license, was speeding more than 10 miles over the speed limit, and was looking at money in his wallet at the time of the crash Saturday, according to arrest warrants obtained by The Herald.

Borbonio-Olivio tried to flee the crash scene before police arrived, prosecutors said.

“It is unfathomable how something like this could happen,” said Josh Byrdic, one of Charles Byrdic’s children. “The driver never should have been driving. He was distracted. He had no license. And now we find out he is here illegally.”

Byrdic, 60, was in his yard around 9:30 a.m. when Borbonio-Olivio ran off the road and hit Byrdic, said Randy Newman, 6th Circuit solicitor.

Byrdic died at the scene. He was hit so hard that he was knocked out of his shoes and catapulted from the suspect’s SUV, Byrdic’s family said.

Borbonio-Olivio was denied bond Wednesday in court in Lancaster. Prosecutors argued he is a flight risk and could be deported by federal officials before being held accountable for Byrdic’s death.

Charles Byrdic’s widow, Donna, said she agrees with President Donald Trump’s stance for stricter immigrations law enforcement when suspects are not in the U.S. legally and then charged with crimes.

“There are laws in this country and he (Borbonio-Olivio) kept breaking them,” she said. “Now he has taken a life.”

It remains unclear why, in the previous cases, no law enforcement or court officials contacted ICE or Lancaster County prosecutors to check on Borbonio-Olivio’s immigration status.

Borbonio-Olivio was arrested in 2001 for having no beginner’s permit, no child restraint seat and speeding, court records show.

In 2003, 2004 and May, he was arrested for driving without a driver’s license, court records show. He was found guilty each time. In July’s court hearing for the May arrest, Borbonio-Olivio was given a choice of 30 days in jail or a $100 fine.

In 2007, he was charged with speeding.

Newman said he was not told of Borbonio-Olivio’s previous incidents until Saturday’s fatal crash when he asked law enforcement to ask for the ICE hold.

“I am going to do all I can do from here to hold this man responsible for what happened,” said Newman after court Wednesday.

After Saturday’s crash, Borbonio-Olivio was initially charged by S.C. Highway Patrol troopers with no driver’s license. He posted a $2,500 bond Tuesday. Then he was picked up by ICE agents, Newman said. But prosecutors asked ICE officials to bring Borbonio-Olivio back to the Lancaster County jail late Tuesday to be charged with reckless homicide, which carries up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Borbonio-Olivio is being held at Lancaster County jail and remains under the ICE detainer.

Charles Byrdic’s funeral was Wednesday afternoon, a couple of hours after Borbonio-Olivio appeared in court. Byrdic had beaten leukemia and a stroke and was a “miracle” man who survived health scares, his wife said.

Byrdic planned to go to the store Saturday morning after cleaning up the yard to get blueberries so his wife could make the couple crepes. He died before making it out of the driveway.

“We just want justice,” Donna Byrdic said. “This has crushed me. We always believed we would be together until death. I didn’t expect his death to come so violently.”

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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