ORLANDO, Fla. – Two suspects wanted in connection with a Daytona Beach homicide investigation caused a fatal crash in Orlando Tuesday while attempting to avoid officers after an authorized pursuit, according to Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon.
Rolon said officers became aware Tuesday that the vehicle connected to the Daytona Beach homicide was detected by a license plate reader in the Orlando area Monday night. Then Tuesday morning, an officer saw the car in the area of John Young Parkway and L.B. McLeod Road.
Initially, officers chose to follow the car but not pursue it, according to the chief. Stop sticks were deployed but the suspect vehicle avoided it and sped off, Rolon said.
At some point, the suspects drove onto Rio Grande Avenue. That’s when Rolon said the suspects crashed into a car, killing an innocent woman in her 70s.
“It was definitely an approved pursuit. Initially (officers) were following the car when they put the stop sticks down, the vehicle began to elude the officers, that’s when the pursuit began. When they got on this road, the officers noticed that they were driving very recklessly,” Rolon said. “It is our job, obviously, to monitor the conditions and see if the chase is worthy of the capture. In this case they thought, ‘You know what, let’s back up a little bit,’ but as the car was driving on Rio Grande, a car came out of one of the side streets, unsuspecting that the car was coming at a high rate of speed, and as (the suspects) tried to avoid that car, they crashed into another person.”
We're putting together the pieces of a murder which took place in #DaytonaBeach last night.— Daytona Beach Police (@DaytonaBchPD) May 12, 2020
Our thanks to @OrlandoPolice & @OrlandoPDChief for their assistance.
MORE: https://t.co/0aycB0Wjxr pic.twitter.com/9KYdb2pU2n
The woman driving that vehicle died at an area hospital. The two suspects were also taken to a hospital to receive treatment.
Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes said troopers are investigating the fatal crash. She said at this point, it’s too early to know how fast the suspect was driving.
“Those types of collisions when you get impacted nearly head-on or to the side, cars can overturn fairly easily," Montes said.
Tamar Laurent said she saw the crash happen.
“Like a big, a big explosion,” Laurent said. “I knew the way he was driving, it was going to be a bad accident.”
According to an FHP crash report, the driver of the Kia Forte lost control while fleeing from authorities and struck a curb then traveled from the northbound lanes into the southbound lanes of Rio Grande Avenue, where the right side of the Kia hit the front of a 2002 Toyota Corolla, driven by a 73-year-old woman.
The 29-year-old Kia driver is in critical condition while the 33-year-old passenger is in serious condition. Records show neither was wearing a seat belt.
Rolon blamed the murder suspects for causing the fatal crash and taking an innocent woman’s life. He also said a gun was found in the vehicle they were driving.
“Ultimately the fault here is the driver of that car who refused to stop and obey a lawful command to do so. That individual ultimately is responsible for the death of another person, an innocent person, who had nothing to do with it,” Rolon said.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri provided details about the initial homicide investigation Tuesday afternoon.
He said Joshua D. Goodman, 25, was found suffering from three gunshot wounds to the torso Monday at a medical marijuana business parking lot and ultimately died as a result of his injuries.
According to Capri, crystal clear surveillance video helped authorities identify a blue 2019 Kia as being involved and Willie Walker, 29, as a suspect. The second man who was in the vehicle at the time of the Orlando crash, Andrew Burgman, is also believed to have been at the scene of the shooting, the chief said.
Police said they followed the vehicle after the shooting but ultimately it got away.
Further details about the shooting weren’t released but Capri did say Walker has a criminal history and the homicide was likely drug-related.
Walker and the second suspect have not yet been interviewed due to the severity of their injuries, although Capri said he’s confident justice will be served for the crash victim and the shooting victim.
“It’s just sad that the actions of these individuals, they have no regard for human life, as you can see today, they just get behind the wheel of a car and think they’re invincible and they can just do whatever they want to do and unfortunately we have another victim today that was killed because of this criminal that keeps getting out of jail,” Capri said.
Authorities are still waiting to obtain a search warrant to collect further evidence in the case.
As of Friday, second-degree murder charges have been filed against Walker and Burgman. Police said the murder charge could be upgraded in the future.