A 28-year-old Orlando man was charged with killing a pedestrian after he fled from an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy last July, the Florida Highway Patrol said Saturday.
The hit-and-run death happened to one of three men who were helping the victim of an earlier crash at Orange Blossom Trail and 41th Street south of downtown Orlando on July 4, 2019.
FHP said Christian Andres Ponce was driving a 2017 Lexus IS200 that morning when he struck and killed Damion Bradford, 33, of Apopka and injured two others. Bradford and the other men were helping after a previous and unrelated crash killed a pedestrian crossing OBT.
Ponce was taken to Orange County Jail on Friday on charges of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and operating a vehicle without a valid license causing the death of someone. FHP said his first name is listed as “Christian” on his drivers license, but he was booked into jail under the first name of “Cristian.”
The Lexus was located two days after the crash, but FHP said in a news release that Ponce’s arrest came after “an extremely complex investigation and months of attempting to locate” the driver.
Court records show Ponce has more than a decade of various traffic-related infractions that have caused him to lose his license in the past. FHP said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office gang enforcement unit arrested Ponce on the FHP warrant.
Authorities said the chain of events started about 3 a.m. last July 4 when a Dodge SUV struck and killed 39-year-old Nostaky Exantus, who was crossing Orange Blossom Trail, according to FHP.
FHP said Lazeya Destiny Rivera, 22, of Clermont, was driving the SUV. She was arrested on charges of third-degree murder, DUI manslaughter, driving with a suspended license and a DUI with property damage or personal injury. Her case is pending in Orange County courts.
Three men stopped to help Exantus when they were struck by the Lexus, which was fleeing from an Orange County deputy. FHP said Saturday that Ponce was “positively identified” as the driver of the Lexus.
Source: ORLANDO SENTINEL