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State Troopers: Suspect in deadly truck accident spoke English; arrest wasn’t illegal

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina State Troopers close to the case of a deadly semi-versus-motorcycles wreck Friday couldn’t believe what they heard from the driver of that truck in court Monday.

According to a spokesman for the department, it wasn’t the same thing they heard come from Daniel Serna during the investigation.

Serna told a judge during his initial appearance in court that he couldn’t speak English. His translator also claimed that the arrest was illegal because none of the investigators spoke Spanish.

Master Trooper Chris Knox denies that claim and said that state troopers had no problem communicating with the truck driver during a sobriety test (which Serna passed) or during the course of the investigation.

“We don’t want people to see this and hear this taking place and think we don’t respect someone’s primary language or ethnicity,” said Knox.

Knox said a Spanish-speaking Trooper asked Serna if he’d rather give his account of what happened in Spanish and the truck driver told investigators that he would continue to talk to them in English.

State troopers said the claim that they ignore language barriers during the course of an investigation is simply untrue.

“We want to relate everyone we talk to, we want to be able to sympathize with them, we want to be able to hear their side of the story and to hear an individual say we didn’t do that just isn’t the case,” said Knox.

Serna is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and felony hit and run in the wreck that killed two people and injured four others.

According to prosecutors, Serna lives in Florida and immigrated to the United States a little more than three years ago.

He’ll be back in court Aug. 18.