Illegal immigrant arrested in crash that killed Democratic senator’s adviser

An 18-year-old Honduran man who was arrested in connection to a two-vehicle crash that killed an adviser to Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., earlier this month was in the country illegally, having been detained at the border in 2021 and then let go, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tells Fox News Digital.

The illegal immigrant, Elmer Rueda-Linares, was involved in the deadly crash that took the life of father-of-one-Kurt Englehart in the early hours of April 6. The collision occurred on Kietzke and Peckham Lanes, about five miles south of Downtown Reno, Nevada.

Rueda-Linares was initially charged with a felony hit-and-run, but that has been changed to failing to stop at the scene of an accident, the Reno Gazaette Joyrbal reported, citing the sheriff’s office. He is being held at Washoe County Jail in Reno on $100,000 bail.

Kurt Englehart-Elmer Rueda-Linares-Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto

Kurt Englehart, left, who died in an April 6 crash in Reno. Illegal immigrant Elmer Rueda-Linares, center, has been arrested for leaving the scene. Englehart worked for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev. (Facebook, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)


Federal officers placed an immigration detainer on Rueda-Linares on April 8.

ICE told Fox News Digital that Rueda-Linares entered the U.S. on March 12, 2021, at or near the Rio Grande City, Texas, Port of Entry without inspection by an immigration official. 

Border Patrol arrested him, and he was later released on his own recognizance on June 22, 2021.

Fox News Digital contacted the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office for more details regarding the nature of the collision but did not receive a response. 

A spokesperson for Cortez Masto told Fox News Digital that the lawmaker “looks forward to justice being served and has confidence in the local police and prosecutors.”

Following the death, Cortez Mastro praised Englehart and offered her condolences. 


Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev. (AP Photo/Ellen Schmidt)

“For the past eight years, Kurt proudly served in both my campaign and official offices,” she wrote.

“A beloved figure across the state, Kurt was always eager to help a constituent at a moment’s notice. He touched many lives and I know almost everyone in northern Nevada has a great story about Kurt helping them or making them laugh. Kurt was a dedicated public servant, a loyal friend and a loving father.”

“Our prayers are with his family, loved ones and colleagues during this devastating time. We will miss him dearly.”

An obituary for Englehart states that he graduated from Tri-Valley High School in Dresden, Ohio, and attended Zane State in Zanesville and Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where he earned degrees in political science and public administration. 


Texas-Mexico border

Groups of migrants of different nationalities arrive at the Rio Grande to cross it and surrender to the American authorities. (Christian Torres/Anadolu via Getty Images)

He worked for then-President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign and spent most of his career working for Cortez Masto, where he most recently served as senior adviser in her official office in Reno.

“Regardless of his position, Kurt was purpose-driven in his dedication to advocate for others and cultivate a democracy that is accessible to everyone,” the obituary reads. 

“He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those in rural Nevada and he was especially motivated in his support for Indigenous communities, cattlemen, miners, and underrepresented populations.”

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