OCOEE, Fla. – Video has been released from last week's crash involving an Ocoee police officer in pursuit of another vehicle wanted in armed robberies, and the officer has been found at fault.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Officer Chris Bonner, 29, of Ocoee, was northbound on Orange Blossom Trail with his cruiser's lights and sirens activated when he crashed into a Toyota Corolla, which was headed east on Holden Avenue. The Toyota, driven by 26-year-old Yahaira Montalvo, had the green light, troopers said.
Bonner and the driver of the Toyota were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, the FHP said.
FHP cited Bonner for failing to obey traffic laws. He was found at fault in the crash.
Police told News 6 on Wednesday that they learned Bonner overtook the lead car and that the second car possibly blocked his view at the intersection.
Meanwhile, Montalvo held a news conference with her lawyer, who said Bonner broke the agency's pursuit policy.
"This was a needless high-speed pursuit that ran through a red light that violated the Ocoee Police Department's guidelines," attorney Brian Crews said.
Ocoee police says Bonner had every right to go after the suspects because they committed violent crimes and feared they could escalate. But the agency tells News 6 he should have stopped at the red light.
"The police officer's duty is to protect and serve. An officer is never allowed to needlessly endanger the public by a high speed pursuit," Crews said.
Montalvo says she didn't realize there was a police chase going on until it was too late.
"If I had known there was a chasing going on, I would have stopped and I wouldn't have put my life in danger," she said.
Troopers say Bonner was driving approximately 90 miles per hour when he crashed into Montalvo's car. She tells News 6 she doesn't remember much from the accident, only being pulled out of the car by her arms.
"I just remember the hit and waking up...throughout if I was rolling or going sideways, I don't know," Montalvo said. "I ended up with no shoes, no socks, and I just saw my body bleeding and nobody could get me out."
Her attorney plans to file a lawsuit against the Ocoee Police Department. He is also calling on the agency to do a complete investigation.
"And doesn't just white wash it and try to put it under the rug," Crews said.
Montavlo had surgery on her wrist and forearm. She was released from the hospital on Saturday. Ocoee police says Bonner is still recovering in the hospital.
FHP says Bonner was cited with a moving violation. He'll have to pay a $164 ticket and will get four points on his license.
— Amanda Castro (@AmandaNCastro) May 18, 2016
No other details were immediately available.
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