Driver accused in fatal wrong-way crash on I-95 appears in court
Willie Dumel charged in crash that killed 4
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge ruled the 25-year-old man accused of driving the wrong way on I-95 during a police pursuit will be held on no bond while the court deals with his violation of probation charge.
Willie Dumel appeared in bond court Thursday morning after the Florida Highway Patrol filed four counts of vehicular homicide and one count of driving while license suspended against him. After his violation of probation charge is sorted out, Dumel is expected to be given $100,000 bond with GPS tracking and house arrest.
Dumel continues to use a wheelchair after his legs were broken in the crash.
"He hasn't walked or stood since the night of the accident," said Andrew Rier, Dumel's attorney. "Obviously, what happened to the victims is a tragedy and there's nothing that happened today that can undo that."
The Opa-locka Police Department is expected to file an additional charge against Dumel. He was previously charged with fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer in the April 3rd crash.
The chase and the crash
According to the arrest affidavit, Opa-locka Police Corporal Sergio Perez observed a black Chevrolet Suburban make an improper right turn from the center lane at Northwest 22nd Avenue and S.R. 9. A recording of police communications during the pursuit indicate Perez recognized Dumel or the vehicle in connection with a robbery.
When Perez activated his emergency lights and sirens, Dumel drove away, according to the affidavit. Dumel entered northbound I-95 at the Golden Glades Interchange, then exited westbound at Ives Dairy Road. He then entered the southbound exit ramp at Ives Dairy Road but was heading northbound.
"He was fleeing from the Opa-locka Police Department and was traveling in the opposite direction on I-95, where he collided with a car head-on," said Sanchez.
The crash killed the four people inside the van, identified as: 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.
Opa-locka police are investigating whether Perez pursued Dumel the wrong way on I-95 after he allegedly fled from a traffic stop.
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.
Dumel reportedly told detectives his name was Paolo Lafrance after the crash.
"It is believed that the defendant gave that name in an attempt to conceal his true identity," stated the arrest affidavit. "Defendant's license is suspended and defendant has a possible warrant for probation violation."
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