A staunch supporter of the rights of immigrants — and a married father of five — was killed last week when an illegal immigrant from El Salvador facing deportation crashed into his motorcycle in Colorado.
Sean Buchanan, 45, was driving northbound on Highway 83 on August 2 when Colorado State Patrol say a southbound truck operated by Miguel Ramirez Valiente went off the side of the road, then over-corrected into the wrong lane and crashed into Buchanan’s bike, killing him.
Valiente, an undocumented immigrant who was slated for deportation eight months earlier, was charged with misdemeanor careless driving with a revoked license in the deadly accident.
In an ironic twist, Buchanan was known among friends a passionate advocate for all immigrants.
Officials do not suspect that drugs, alcohol or excessive speed played a role in the collision, reported
Valiente has a criminal record in Colorado that includes a 2018 conviction for a DUI charge, which earned him a year’s probation and the revocation of his license, and a guilty plea to a charge of reckless endangerment in a child neglect case.
On August 1, less than 24 hours before the deadly crash that killed Buchanan, Valiente’s probation was extended because he had failed to complete his court-ordered treatment program and community service.
He made national headlines in January when he sought sanctuary at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in January to avoid deportation to El Salvador during the federal government shutdown.
‘I can’t be separated from them,’ he said at a press conference at the time, according to The Denver Channel. ‘I have always worked hard to support my family, and they depend on me.’
But according to a close acquaintance of Valiente’s speaking to The Denver Channel on condition of anonymity, the reality of his life was far from the public image he had sought to create.
‘This family deserves to know who they’re dealing with,’ she said. ‘He’s an alcoholic and an abuser.’