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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Four Filipinos die of car crash in Miami, Florida


Four Filipinos were killed in a road crash after a vehicle driven by a man being chased by cops collided with their minivan in Miami, Florida last Wednesday.

Authorities have identified the victims of the wrong-way crash that killed four Filipinos on Interstate 95 early Wednesday.
Authorities have identified the victims of the wrong-way crash that killed four Filipinos on Interstate 95 early Wednesday.  Photo courtesy of NBC News

An NBC News report identified the fatalities as Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz, 33, Lily Marie Azarcon, 26, Albertson Anthony Almase, 31 and Kristina Almase, 26.

The Almase siblings were in the US military, while Azarcon was just visiting from the Philippines. Ortiz, on the other hand, was an international sales director of a Filipino real estate firm, the report said.

The Pinoys were on board a Kia Sorento traveling southbound on Interstate 95 when a Chevrolet Suburban driven by suspect Willie Dumel, 25, crashed head on into their vehicle.

The report said Dumel made an improper right turn and did not stop when asked to pull over. Instead, he kept on driving and traveled north on a southbound lane of Interstate 95.

The suspect survived but also sustained serious injuries from the crash.

Investigation said that after a police pursuit that began in Opa-locka, the 2013 Chevy Suburban SUV of suspect Willie Dumel, 25, collided with the Kia on  the highway, north of Ives Dairy Road, around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Lily Marie Azarcon, Kristina Almase, Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz and Albertson Anthony Almase
(From left) Lily Marie Azarcon, Kristina Almase, Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz and Albertson Anthony Almase

Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz, 33, of California was driving the minivan that was in the southbound lanes of I-95 in northeast Miami-Dade when it was struck head-on by Dumel who was driving an SUV heading north, the Florida Highway Patrol said Thursday.

Lily Marie Azarcon, 26, of the Philippines and siblings Albertson Anthony Almase, 31, and Kristina A. Almase, 26, were the minivan passengers, FHP said.

The Almases were both in the Navy, FHP spokesman Joe Sanchez said. They are from out of town, but were initially listed as Fort Lauderdale residents because they were staying with somebody in Fort Lauderdale, he said.

Ortiz and Azarcon flew into Fort Lauderdale Tuesday night, and the Almases picked them up at the airport before the crash, Sanchez said.

Four lives intersect, perish together

In a Miami Herald news article, it said Lily-Marie Azarcon was in the United States on business, having come from the Philippines through California and Las Vegas to Miami — to see the Heat play.

Dennis Ryan RiƱon Ortiz was her colleague, a California-based international sales director at Alveo Land Corp., headquartered in Manila.

U.S. Navy petty officer 2nd class Albertson Anthony Almase was in transition from a base in San Diego to another in Virginia.

His sister, Kristina Angela Almase, was a nurse who’d attended a seminar in Fort Lauderdale. A single mother, she was pondering her future.

The four young adults, with strong ties to the Philippines, met up in South Florida to have some fun.

They all died at the scene of “blunt force trauma,’’ according to Larry Cameron, operations director at Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office.

Willie Dumel
Willie Dumel
Miami-Dade Corrections / Handout
NBC News were able to get hold of a police dispatch recording

A police incident showed that Opa-locka Police Cpl. Sergio Perez tried to pull over Dumel for making an improper right turn, Dumel fled, and Perez chased him.

"My understanding is he broke off the chase at the exit ramp at Ives Dairy Road,” Opa-locka Police spokesman David Chiverton said Wednesday.

A recording of a police dispatch that was released Thursday appeared to complicate the timeline, however.

In the recording, the officer reported that the suspect was getting off the highway at Ives Dairy Road. After he did, he got back onto I-95 heading in the wrong direction, police said.

"OK, this guy's all over the road, now he's going against traffic on I-95, we're going northbound in the southbound lanes,” the officer said in the recording.

He also reported that the suspect had thrown a firearm out of his window on I-95. Then the officer said, “Oh my God!”

Opa-locka officials still won’t say whether Perez, who has been placed on administrative leave with pay, did the right thing in pursuing the chase.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation. So at this point, I’m not going to comment on anything more than the information I’m giving you,” Chiverton said Thursday.

But police released their chase policy, which says that pursuits involving traffic violators are not permitted under any circumstances. It also says that officers should not drive against the flow of traffic.

Motorcycle Landed on Car on I-95: FHP

Witness Jeff Kopelman, who was behind the minivan, saw Dumel’s headlights coming toward him.

"At the time I'm thinking to myself, is this guy drunk, maybe it's an older person who lost his bearings, there was no possible way of knowing,” Kopelman said Wednesday. “But the police were not behind him on I-95 chasing him. I think to their credit, they didn't, or it could've made even matters a lot worse, but certainly they were right there after the accident happened."

Dumel, who has two broken legs, is still hospitalized. Charges are pending.




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