Orange County deputy sheriff arrested in hit-and-run crash

Carmelo Ortiz arrested, relieved of duty

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County sheriff deputy has been arrested and relieved from duty after allegedly failing to stop and remain at an accident involving injury.

Deputy Sheriff Carmelo Ortiz told troopers that he wasn't involved in any kind of hit-and-run, but the woman he hit was able to identify him in a photo lineup and troopers saw front-end damage to his SUV.

Ortiz was arrested for failing to stop and remain at an accident involving injury. The hit-and-run happened back on March 7.

Deputies said Ortiz was driving his black Cadillac near Red Bug Lake Road and State Road 426 when he hit the woman's car from behind as she was sitting at the red light.

According to the arrest report, after hitting the woman, Ortiz approached the car and asked her and her male passenger if they were OK. They replied no and Ortiz then got back in his car and drove away with all of his lights off.

The pair called 911 and started to follow Ortiz to a dead-end street where they were able to get his tag number. That information led troopers to Ortiz's home.

Troopers said Ortiz had a strong order of alcohol on his breath, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.

The Florida Highway Patrol said it had been investigating the incident for a month. The case was given to the state attorney about a week and a half ago. Authorities said they issued a warrant Monday. Ortiz then turned himself in at 6:15 p.m. Monday.

Sgt. Kim Montes of FHP said the reason authorities didn't test Ortiz for blood-alcohol level is because the chain of custody is gone once he arrived at home, since they didn't know if he drank again once at home.

Ortiz also didn't admit he was driving the car right away, so authorities couldn't draw blood. Montes said they didn't have enough information to do so.

Ortiz was charged with careless driving, failure to report and leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries -- a felony. Bond was set at $4,900.

Ortiz had been with the Orange County Sheriff's Office since December 1998, and since his arrest he has been relieved from duty. The Sheriff's Office will now do an administrative review into what happened.

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