Confrontation between couple leads to fatal crash in Hallandale Beach, police say

Police say couple was arguing over woman's cellphone before crash

By Liane Morejon - Reporter, Madeleine Wright - Reporter

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A confrontation between a couple led to a crash that left one person dead and another injured Sunday in Hallandale Beach, authorities said.

The crash occurred about 6 p.m. at Atlantic Shores Boulevard and Northeast 12th Avenue.

Hallandale Beach police said the incident started as a domestic dispute between a man, identified as Matthew Bernard Ellison, 34, of Miramar, and a woman who he is involved in a romantic relationship with.

Authorities said the couple was arguing over the woman's cellphone, which Ellison took from her before he drove away in his white van. 

"She was trying to get the phone back from him," Sgt. Pedro Abut said.  

Police said the woman followed Ellison in her Mazda SUV before she lost sight of him.

Authorities said the van failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with a white Toyota Corolla with two people inside and then struck a man walking along the street. The people inside the car weren't hurt, but the pedestrian, identified as Iulian Rusanovschi, 24 of Hallandale Beach, was pronounced dead at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center.

Police said Ellison got out of his van after the crash and shot himself. 

He was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where he remains in critical condition.

"It's extremely odd, I mean, very confusing as well. And, unfortunately, somebody lost their life in all this," Abut said. 

Police said detectives contacted Ellison's girlfriend on Monday and she is cooperating with the investigation. 

Authorities said Ellison could face charges in the death of the pedestrian, however, the investigation remains ongoing. 

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