The official narrative regarding the man arraigned in the traffic deaths of two women in Shelby Township last week is shifting from his initial identification as an illegal immigrant by the law enforcement agency that arrested him to asylum seeker by the Michigan Secretary of State that granted him a chauffeur’s license.

Jose Medina-Hernandez was charged on two counts of a moving violation causing death last Friday for an incident that occurred June 6. According to Shelby Twp. officials, Medina-Hernandez “failed to slow in a construction area causing a 4-car accident that resulted in the deaths of an 88-year-old mother and her 63-year-old daughter.”

Go Ad-Free, Get Content, Go Premium Today - $1 Trial

The Shelby Twp. news release continues:  “It was later determined that Medina-Hernandez had no legal status in this country and ICE was contacted for further investigation.”

Shelby Twp. Police Chief Robert Shelide released a statement in which he said: “I am distraught over the face that the suspect, Jose Eugenio Medina-Hernandez [sic] was found to have no legal status in the country.”

The SOS, however, disputes Shelide’s statement.

In a letter forwarded to The Midwesterner by the SOS communication staff, SOS Chief Legal Director Michael Brady told Sen. Joseph Bellino, R-Monroe, that Medina-Hernandez is technically an “asylum seeker” and therefore not lacking “legal status.”

Go Ad-Free, Get Content, Go Premium Today - $1 Trial

According to Brady’s letter: “Contrary to media reports, the driver in question did not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). He did, however, have a valid Michigan chauffeur’s license at the time of the crash. Michigan law requires a chauffeur’s license for drivers transporting more than 16 people, carrying hazardous materials, operating a vehicle weighing more than 26,001 pounds, or towing a heavy-weight trailer.”

The Midwesterner shared the letter in a post on X.

In response to the above tweet, SOS Director of Communications Angela Benander told The Midwesterner: “Someone whose status is asylum-seeker has lawful presence in the U.S. It is inaccurate to characterize him as being here illegally or being an ‘illegal alien’ as you do in your tweet.”

In his letter to Bellino, Brady continued: “Prior to issuing a Michigan chauffeur’s license to Mr. Medina-Hernandez, our office confirmed his status as an asylum-seeker with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Systemic Alien Verification Entitlement (SAVE) program. Like every person applying for a Michigan driver’s license of any kind, he was required by law to produce proof of legal presence in the United States before his license could be issued. As I’m sure you know, we are required under Michigan law to verify the validity of every person’s official documents when they apply for state identification or a driver’s license, and we did so in this case.”

According to the Detroit News, Medina-Hernandez received a chauffer’s license in 2018, and does not possess a CDL.

Most recently, his driving record is riddled with infractions, according to the News report.

“Medina-Hernandez was previously involved in four non-fatal traffic crashes between April 2022 and September 2023, according to his state driving record. He took hazardous action in two of the crashes, failing to yield in September 2023, and was unable to stop in one crash that occurred in May 2023…. He was also convicted of making improper or erratic lane changes in Ohio in March 2023, according to the record.”