Driver in deadly 128 mph Winter Park crash pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter

Justin Fonner will be sentenced on Sept. 21

WINTER PARK, Fla. – The driver of a BMW who was going 128 mph before a deadly crash in Winter Park that killed two women on New Year’s Eve in 2017 has pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide, according to court documents.

Justin Fonner, 32, also pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury.

Court records show he will be sentenced on Sept. 21 and a different judge will sentence him.

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Before the wreck, Fonner was driving east on Orange Avenue toward Westchester Avenue in a residential area when he told his passengers, “Let me show you what a real man’s car can do,” according to an arrest warrant.

Fonner then hit the gas, reaching speeds between 100 and 120 mph in a 35 mph zone, the passengers told police.

When Geena Brigitte Pabarue and Keisha Oyola Perales pulled out from a house on Orange Avenue, Fonner T-boned their Toyota SUV, killing both women.

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Two passengers in Fonner’s BMW were also hurt in the crash, suffering broken bones and internal bleeding, according to the report.

Investigators determined that there was no way the victims would have thought a car would be approaching at such a high speed and that if Fonner was going the speed limit, he would have been able to break in time.

In October 2019, the Florida Department of Transportation announced major changes were coming to the roadway in the area of the crash, including building a traffic circle at Orange and Clay Avenues, reducing traffic down to one lane in each direction, and implementing two left-turn lanes at the corner of Orlando Avenue. FDOT said designs were supposed to start last year with public input meetings happening in 2021, but it’s unknown if the pandemic has caused any delays.