Man ordered held on $150,000 bond in fatal hit-and-run

Victim's family fears Adrian Morales Rodriguez, 50, may flee country


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida man accused in a deadly hit-and-run crash on Christmas Eve was ordered held in jail in lieu of $150,000 bond.

Police said Adrian Morales Rodriguez, 50, was driving a Mercedes Benz when he struck Steven Rex Lester, 52, early in the morning while Lester was walking in the area of Southwest 112th Avenue and 218th Street.

Witnesses said they saw Morales Rodriguez get out of his car, get back inside and attempt to drive off.

But police said two good Samaritans kept him from getting away.

"We basically chased the guy down, stopped him, blocked him off, because he was basically trying to flee," Octavius Hamilton said.

"I asked him to get out the car and sit in the back of the car and wait for the officer to come," Arturo Falconer said.

Morales Rodriguez was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death.

Lester’s family asked the state for a higher bond and for Morales Rodriguez to surrender his travel documents, because they were worried that he could flee the country if he posts bail.

His attorney told the court that his client is an “internationally known artist” from Cuba and claimed that Lester was illegally walking in the street while it was very dark outside.  

"I am convinced he will be vindicated. He is innocent," Morales Rodriguez's attorney said. "He is a kind and gentle man and I'm very disappointed that the state is proceeding so aggressively."

If Morales Rodriguez posts bail, he must surrender his U.S. and Spanish passports and wear a GPS ankle monitor. He will not be allowed to travel outside Florida.

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