MIAMI – A 17-year-old has been arrested and two other suspects have been identified by detectives following a fatal hit-and-run crash in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, Miami police confirmed Thursday.
The teen who was arrested was identified by police as Fernando Altamirano.
The crash occurred Monday at the intersection of Northwest Third Street and 11th Avenue, killing 63-year-old Mayra Sanchez and injuring her friend.
Surveillance cameras at a nearby gas station recorded video showing the suspects who police said were in a stolen white Land Rover that struck Sanchez’s car.
Detectives shared the video on Wednesday. They believe the driver of the Land Rover, who they said was Altamirano, ran a stop sign before the deadly T-bone collision.
According to the suspect’s arrest report, the impact of the crash caused the victim’s car to be redirected 90 degrees, causing it to travel south on Northwest 11th Avenue.
The victim’s vehicle then sideswiped two parked cars on the east side of the road before rear-ending another parked vehicle, causing a chain-reaction crash with two more parked cars, the report stated.
Police said the Land Rover crashed into a chain-link fence and came to a final rest in the yard of a home.
Authorities said the Land Rover had been stolen out of Miami-Dade County that same day.
“The Range Rover just drove into that car; took it a half-block down. Those two women there (were) unconscious and we couldn’t do nothing,” Zoraine Vichot, a witness, said.
Witnesses told police officers the driver and the passengers jumped out of the damaged Land Rover and took off running. Vichot said she was angry with the ones who ran away.
“It is heartbreaking! How can you do that? How can you leave somebody like that?” she asked.
Firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to get Sanchez and her friend, Dania Montero, out of the mangled car. Relatives said the tragedy happened while Sanchez was giving her friend a ride.
According to the police report, both women were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where Sanchez died.
Police said Montero suffered multiple brain bleeds, a broken spine, a spleen laceration and multiple rib fractures. They said she was rushed into surgery to have her spleen removed and she remains hospitalized in extremely critical condition.
According to the teen’s arrest report, a female who picked up Altamirano urged him to turn himself in to police after she saw a report about the crash on the news, but the teen told her he wasn’t driving the Land Rover. Police, however, said he admitted to driving the SUV once he was interviewed by detectives.
Authorities say they also interviewed another subject who told them the teen was the person driving the SUV, and that he was in the front passenger seat and another person was sitting in the backseat.
Police said the subject told them he got out of the vehicle just prior to the crash.
According to the police report, Altamirano told detectives that he got distracted just prior to the crash because his girlfriend was calling him.
He said after the crash, he and one other person inside the car hid inside an abandoned house, the report stated.
Altamirano faces multiple charges, including vehicular homicide/failure to stop, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury, driving without a license causes serious injury and driving without a license causing death.
Police say Altamirano presents “a serious flight risk” because he is in the U.S. illegally and even if his passport is confiscated, he can obtain a new one at his country’s nearest consular office.
Authorities said the subjects who were allegedly hiding with the teen also told detectives that Altamirano had plans to flee to Georgia to avoid arrest.
While authorities say they have identified the other two people who were inside the vehicle, police have not arrested either person and have not said whether charges are pending against them.