Immigration officials, KPD, search for suspect in fatal hit-and-run

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knoxville Police Department is searching for a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run on April 8, 2019.

KPD said it is searching for Juan Francisco, who authorities said was driving a 1998 Dodge pickup truck in the vicinity of Custom Foods at 3600 Pleasant Ridge Road when he struck the victim, Debbie Burgess, with his vehicle.

Burgess died as a result of the incident, and KPD said Francisco fled the scene.

Francisco has a history of criminal offenses, including a DUI in 2017 and reckless driving in 2004. Homeland Security tells WVLT that Francisco’s immigration status has not changed since his arrest in 2002. At that time he was charged with theft and the warrant says he was an undocumented immigrant without proper paperwork.

WVLT spoke to D.J. Corcoran, a father whose son was killed back in December of 2019 after an illegal immigrant crossed into oncoming traffic hitting his son's car. Corcoran said that his heart goes out to the Burgess family, and that when illegal immigrants are faced with these type of situations where law enforcement is involved, "They're going to flee."

According to Immigration Officials, the U.S. Marshals are also looking for Juan Francisco.

Police officers are asking if you know this individual or have any information on his location, please call the Knoxville Police Department’s crime information line at 865-215-7212. Callers can remain anonymous.