On Saturday, January 19, 2019, at approximately 11:55 pm, Smithfield Police responded to the area of Putnam Pike at Cedar Swamp Road for the report of a vehicle that struck a RI DOT snow plow and left the scene.
As police arrived in the area, the suspect vehicle fled and continued westbound on Putnam Pike. Smithfield Police followed as the suspect vehicle turned onto Robert Street, which has no egress. Smithfield Police took custody of the male operator, but learned that the collision with the snow plow actually occurred in North Providence.
The male operator did not have any identification, and the vehicle did not appear to be registered to him. The male operator refused to speak to police and would not identify himself. The male operator was transported to Smithfield Police headquarters to be processed on Smithfield charges, and for continued investigation.
While at headquarters, and after obtaining assistance from the Rhode Island State Police, the Smithfield Police were able to identify the male as Jose Ruiz, age 36, of Cranston. Mr. Ruiz was then fingerprinted and further processed by the Smithfield Police.
Smithfield Police were then contacted by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), who requested that Smithfield Police hold Mr. Ruiz due to a biometric confirmation showing that Mr. Ruiz lacked immigration status, and that Mr. Ruiz was considered removable under U.S. immigration law. ICE provided Smithfield Police with an Immigration Detainer Warrant and confirmed that Mr. Ruiz was removed from the United States in 2009 voluntarily with Safeguard.
Mr. Ruiz appeared before Bail Commissioner Peter Hopkins and was arraigned on the following charges: Driving Under the influence of Liquor or Drugs 1st Offense BAC Unknown (31-27-2), Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer (31-27-4.1), Obstructing a Police Officer (11-32-1), and Driving Without a License 3rd Offense (31-11-18). Mr. Ruiz’s next scheduled court date is Tuesday, February 5, 2019.
Mr. Ruiz was released from Smithfield Police headquarters and turned over to ICE Agents.