Miami police say a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant was behind the wheel of a stolen Range Rover that ran a Little Havana stop sign, smashed into a Nissan Altima, killed one Miami woman and put another in critical condition on Monday.
Fernando Altamirano has been arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash with a death, leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury and driving without a license, causing death or serious injury with a vehicle. The other two minors with him in the Range Rover, all of whom abandoned the SUV after the crash, were not named.
In the arrest affidavit, Miami police say Altamirano, from Nicaragua and living about two blocks from the crash site, “presents a serious flight risk” because he’s in the country illegally and was planning on heading for Georgia to avoid arrest.
“Even if he is ordered to surrender his passport, he is able to obtain a new passport at his country’s nearest consular office and flee the country,” the affidavit says.
The crash killed 63-year-old Mayra Sanchez and, police say, hospitalized Dania Montero with brain bleeds, a broken spine and a lacerated spleen. Montero is in “extremely critical condition” at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Running a stop sign then running away
At around 11:50 a.m. Monday, Altamirano drove the 2021 Range Rover, which police say had been reported stolen three hours earlier, south on Northwest 11th Avenue through the stop sign at Northwest Third Street “at a high rate of speed.” Altamirano told police he got distracted by a phone call from his girlfriend and was handing the phone to someone else in the car.
Going through the intersection at the time, eastbound on Northwest Third Street, was Sanchez and Montero in a Nissan Altima.
The Range Rover blasted the Altima so that it went from heading east on Northwest Third Street to careening south on Northwest 11th Avenue into four parked cars. Meanwhile, three boys scrambled from the Range Rover, now in the side yard of an apartment building.
The arrest affidavit says Altamirano and another passenger admitted they threw their jackets into a dumpster as they ran. Altamirano said they hid in an abandoned house near Northwest 10th Avenue and First Street.
A witness whose name on the arrest report is redacted said she saw news of the crash and, with the other passengers, went looking for Altamirano. She found him Tuesday at Northwest 17th Avenue and 68th Street “high on drugs and disheveled.” She told police she brought him to her home, got him showered and fed and tried to persuade him to turn himself in to police.
Wednesday morning, the arrest affidavit says, the other passengers in the Range Rover called to say they were at Altamirano’s Northwest Fifth Street home. Police came and took all three into custody.