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Trump uses NFL player's death in immigration fight

President Trump used the drunk driving death of an NFL player to push for harsher immigration laws. Our panel weighs in.

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 5:16 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2018 5:29 PM

At the Indianapolis company where Jeffrey Monroe worked the overnight shift for decades, his supervisor personally called the 20 or so people in his department to tell them Monroe had been killed in the crash that also took the life of NFL linebacker Edwin Jackson.

"We're a small company," Eric Rushing said Wednesday. "Everybody is like a family. It was harder than I anticipated."

While the death of Jackson has been politicized -- police arrested a twice-deported undocumented immigrant in the suspected drunken driving crash -- Monroe's co-workers at Allison Payment Systems want to make sure his life isn't overlooked.

Early Sunday, Jeff Monroe was working part time as a ride-share driver. His passenger, Jackson, became ill and Monroe pulled over to assist him. They were struck and killed.

"His story has gotten swept under the rug," said Rushing, the company's director of operations. "He was trying to do a good thing."

Monroe is being remembered as a hard worker and devoted husband who was trying to save money to take his wife to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"He did everything for me," Deborah Monroe, his wife of nearly 24 years, told CNN affiliate WRTV. "He once told me that the reason he got up in the morning was because of me."

'It's about celebrating Jeff's life'

Monroe, who would have turned 55 this month, worked as a computer printer operator at Allison Payments Systems since 1998. To those who knew, it didn't matter that he never played for the Indianapolis Colts. He was a big Colts fan, though. And he was a fixture on the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, where he printed bills and explanation of benefits for various companies in preparation for mailing.

"He had a great personality, always up and willing to help his co-workers," said Joseph "JP" Thomas, company president and CEO.

"He was diligent. Everybody admired him. Everybody who knew him had a fondness for him."

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump sought to the politicize the crash involving an undocumented immigrant. He tweeted that it was "disgraceful that a person illegally in our country" killed Jackson, who played for the Indianapolis Colts,.

Trump called on Democrats to "get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!" There was no mention of Monroe.

Some members of Indiana's congressional delegation also tweeted their outrage.

On Wednesday, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, a Democrat, singled out Trump, saying it was "ghoulish and inappropriate" to politicize the deaths.

Curry filed four felony charges against Manuel Orrego-Savala, a Guatemalan citizen.

"We're not paying attention to that," Thomas said of the focus on the suspect's immigration status rather than the lives lost.

"We knew Jeff and that's what it's all about. Other things will take their course. For us, it's about celebrating Jeff's life and mourning Jeff."

'This is who my husband was'

Thomas said Monroe loved the Christmas season, especially when the company offered free gift wrapping for workers.

"He was known for showering his wife with hundreds of gifts," he said. "He loved his wife. He was a good person. He was kind of a Santa Claus."

Early Sunday, Monroe had stopped his 2018 Lincoln on the side of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis because Jackson, his passenger, had become ill, according to state police.

Both men were standing outside the car when a black Ford F-150 pickup truck drove onto the emergency shoulder and struck them.

Monroe was thrown into the center lane, according to court documents. A state trooper spotted the wreckage and, as he slowed to stop for the crash, his vehicle struck Monroe's body in the center lane. Jackson and Monroe were pronounced dead at the scene.

"This is who my husband was," Deborah Monroe told WRTV. "It does not surprise me that he was killed helping someone else."

The couple had no children but the wife told the station they considered their more than two dozen nephews and nieces their own.

Rushing said Monroe and his wife liked to travel. They went on cruises and had recently traveled to Italy. Monroe was saving money from his part-time driving gig to take her Tokyo for the Olympics.

"He worked holidays," Rushing said. "If I needed anything, he would be there Christmas Day or whatever he had to do. He worked as much overtime as he could to do things and enjoy life."

Said Thomas, "The sad part is, I know he was doing something good, trying to get somebody home safely and it didn't end up that way."

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said he will pay for the men's funerals. Allison Payments Systems will give workers time to bid Monroe a final farewell.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
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