Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's son crashes into College Park home
Witnesses say teen 'took off running' when police arrived
The teenage son of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer offered to pay for damaging a home after crashing his mom's car into it, but ran away as police arrived at the scene, according to a newly released crash report.
The collision occurred at a home near the intersection of New Hampshire Street and Gerda Terrace in College Park just before 1 a.m. Sunday. Police said Dyer's 17-year-old son was behind the wheel when the car ran through a stop sign, jumped a curb, and then crashed into the front of the home.
According to the report, the homeowner was awaken by his doorbell ringing. He spoke to a young man with no shirt on, who told the homeowner he would take full responsibility for the crash and pay for the damage. But when Orlando police arrived, the homeowner said the teen and another shirtless young man "took off running in opposite directions," according to the report.
The homeowner told police he would be able to identify the young man he spoke with, but the report does not indicate whether he knew the driver's identity.
A 2006 Infiniti, registered to the mayor's wife Karen, was left behind in the yard. Police found the teen's wallet and drivers license inside.
The crash ruptured water pipes inside the house and flooded the floor, causing $15,000 - 20,000 in damage, according to the report.
Under Florida law, a driver who causes property damage is required to leave behind contact information, including name, address, and vehicle registration number. Failure to do so is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail.
If the damage is greater than $500, the driver is also required to contact law enforcement immediately, according to state law.
The crash report makes no indication that the mayor's son fulfilled either legal requirement. An Orlando police spokesman, who referred to the crash as a hit-and-run, could not verify whether Dyer's son identified himself to the homeowner. According to the report, an attorney representing the mayor's son made contact with officers two days after the crash acknowledging that the 17 year old was behind the wheel.
The homeowner told police he did not wish to press charges, calling the mayor's son "polite."
Dyer told Local 6 on Tuesday that his son did the right thing after the crash.
"We are just thankful everybody is okay," Dyer said. "We are not going to get into any family details, but I will say it's any parents nightmare any time you send a teenage son or daughter out in a car at night. Your biggest concern is they get home safely. We had an incident, he did the right thing, but fortunately he was okay."
Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney showed up at the crash scene just after Dyer's son left Sunday morning..
"We don't want special treatment. If you have somebody lower in rank, they may think, 'Hey, we need to do something special because it's the mayor's son.' And I assume the chief wanted to make sure everything was dealt with exactly by the book," Dyer said Tuesday.
Dyer also said he felt it was more appropriate to retain an attorney for his son rather than deal with the police department himself. Local 6 has learned the attorney has reached out to Orlando police.
Police have issued the teenager a citation for careless driving.
Watch Local 6 news for more on this story.
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