Opa-locka PD releases chase protocol
4 killed in wrong way crash on I-95; Driver charged
The Opa-locka Police Department released its chase protocol and the police report Thursday related to a robbery suspect who investigators say was involved in a wrong way crash on I-95.
Willie Dumel led Corporal Sergio Perez on a chase beginning at Northwest 22nd Avenue and 144th Street, according to investigators. He eventually went northbound in the southbound lanes of I-95 and hit a minivan head on, killing the four people inside, just north of Ives Dairy Road.
"My understanding is the chase was broken off at the exit ramp of Ives Dairy Road," Opa-locka Assistant City Manager David Chiverton said Wednesday.
But a recording of police communications during the pursuit showed Perez may have still been pursing Dumel when he entered I-95 in the wrong direction.
"This guy is all over the road. Now he's going against traffic on I-95. We're going northbound in the southbound lanes," said an officer, according to the recording.
"Where's the civilian's vehicle?" asked a dispatcher.
"On the shoulder," answered Perez.
Perez then apprehended Dumel, whose recent arrests include aggravated assault, stalking, and violation of probation.
"The subject's here. I got him at gunpoint," said Perez.
According to the department's chase protocol, "Officers shall not operate their vehicle in a manner that causes them to go against the flow of traffic in an effort to maintain contact with the fleeing vehicle. Officers shall try to parallel the fleeing vehicle by going with the flow of traffic and keeping other units advised via radio."
Perez was put on administrative leave. The department denied Local 10's request for his personnel file.
The mayor of Opa-locka said "there will be no cover up" regarding an investigation as to why a city police officer pursued Dumel.
"As a mother, a sister and a wife, my heart goes out to the family of those killed in that accident," Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor said in a statement Thursday. "We will do a thorough investigation on our end. No stone will be left unturned. There will be no cover up. We will get to the bottom of this."
Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz, 33, of California; Albertson Anthony Almase, 31, of Fort Lauderdale; Kristina Almase, 26, of Fort Lauderdale; and, Lily Marie Azarcon, 26, of the Philippines, were killed in the crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Dumel broke his legs in the crash. He underwent surgery Wednesday afternoon.
Dumel was initially charged with fleeing or attempt to elude a law enforcement officer in a marked vehicle. Other charges are pending.
The crash shut down all southbound lanes between Hallandale Beach Boulevard and Ives Dairy Road for several hours.