MIAMI – The uncle of a 17-year-old suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash in Miami said on Thursday that his nephew, Fernando Altamirano, is just a boy.
Surveillance video recorded at a gas station before the crash helped detectives to find and arrest Fernando, who is accused of being behind the wheel of a stolen white Range Rover.
Detectives said Fernando got distracted while communicating with his girlfriend on his phone, and he was in a T-bone collision on Monday in the Little Havana neighborhood.
Fernando and the others in the SUV ran away. Mayra Sanchez, 63, was giving a ride to her friend Dania Montero when the crash happened at the intersection of Northwest Third Street and 11th Avenue.
Firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to get Sanchez and Montero out of the mangled car. A doctor pronounced Sanchez dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.
Montero suffered several brain bleeds, a broken spine, a spleen laceration, and rib fractures. A surgeon removed her spleen and she remained in critical condition on Thursday.
Fernando appeared in front of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jason Emilios Dimitris during a hearing in children’s court and was denied bond. Fernando’s mother, Rosa Altamirano, told the judge she wants to replace her son’s public defender.
Fernando, who is an undocumented migrant, is facing charges of 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 causing serious injury and driving without a license causing death.