Woman wanted in fatal crash feared to have fled country
DORAL, Fla. (WSVN) -- A family whose loved one was killed by an alleged drunk driver is turning to the public for help.
Police issued an arrest warrant, but they are concerned the driver may have left the country. Thursday morning, at Miami-Dade Police headquarters in Doral, the family made a tearful plea for help. Lydia Diaz said, "She took my baby. He's still my baby."
On the night of March 3 of this year, Diaz' son, Juan Manuel Velez, crossed a green light on the 21000 Block and Northwest 27th Avenue, in Miami Gardens. At the same time, Maria Santa Chaison turned left on the southbound lane and caused the crash, police said.
Velez was airlifted Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. "He cared for all types of people," said Jose Velez, "no matter where you were from."
Officers said Chaison was driving drunk with a blood alcohol level of 0.2, well over the legal limit of 0.08. After the blood test, she was not taken in. Investigators on the case believe she has gone into hiding and could have fled to Honduras, where she has family.
The family hopes to see her in handcuffs soon. "She's been missing for quite some time now," said Jose Velez. "The only thing we want is for some closure, for her to come in."
"If she's right here, right now looking at us, I want her to turn herself in," said the mother.
A "Drive Safely" memorial in Velez' name currently marks the spot where Velez suffered his fatal injuries. It gives the family a small place to remember a life cut too short at 25 years. "It's hard," said Erica Velez. "It's hard for all of us. We miss him."
All you have to do to help this family with information on Chaison's whereabouts is call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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