FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Two teenage boys’ crime spree in Broward County turned tragic on Sunday morning when a crash — while they were trying to get away from police — killed Maria Tellez-Vaderrabano, a 35-year-old single mother of three, police said.
The two teens, Jacory Flournoy, 13, and Jah’Kobe Bessent, 15, are accused of breaking into a home while the residents were sleeping, stealing a white Mercedes-Benz, and crashing during a police chase.
Officers with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department followed the Mercedes-Benz when it collided with two vehicles at the intersection of Oakland Park Boulevard and Northwest Ninth Avenue.
Jah’Kobe is accused of driving the car that fled, but deputies later found them and arrested them, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Detectives also accused Jacory and Jah’Kobe of several car thefts in Fort Lauderdale. The boys appeared in court on Tuesday.
Edras Lopez Esteban said his sister, who is pregnant, was among the five injured in the crash. Tellez-Vaderrabano died at a nearby hospital. She is the mother of 15-year-old Samantha, 13-year-old Michael, and 12-year-old Yvonne.
Tellez-Vaderrabano’s 13-year-old son Michael said his single mother left him with many lessons that he and his sisters will never forget.
“She was a positive role model. She always showed us that working hard can get you where you want to be,” Michael said.
Tellez-Vaderrabano’s half-sister Emily Feria said she was already grieving another relative, Maria Armandina Zevallos Solis, who was killed in June after a bus ran her over in Fort Lauderdale.
“They took my sister’s life; they took their mom’s life. We want justice for my sister,” Feria said about Tellez-Vaderrabano.
Feria said she wants Broward County prosecutors to charge Jacory and Jah’Kobe as adults. Prosecutors said they are considering it since they both have long criminal records.
“We don’t want just a slap on the hand just because they are juveniles,” Feria said. “I want them and our family wants them to be charged as an adult. We want them to pay for my sister’s death.”
Feria set up a GoFundMe page to ask the public for help with covering the cost of Tellez-Vaderrabano’s funeral and to help her kids.
“Her children were her whole world, and nothing would mean more to her than to know they are being looked after and taken care of,” Feria wrote.
Fundraiser to help the victim’s family
Watch the 4 p.m. report