Misael Ochoa-Garcia of Port Richey, Florida was arrested Tuesday after he was accused of crashing his car into four young pedestrians, sources say. Early reports state that Ochoa-Garcia was under the influence of a controlled substance and driving at high speeds prior to the accident. Ochoa-Garcia, 26, was booked into the Land O’Lakes Detention Center on multiple charges, including DUI causing serious bodily injuries to another, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, and resisting an officer with violence. His bail bond was set at $7,500. It is unclear whether he has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
Reports say that Ochoa-Garcia was involved in a confrontation outside of a home near Rohrman Road and Cathy Drive prior to the incident. While sources did not indicate what led to the altercation, three large men purportedly attacked Ochoa-Garcia at some point. Ochoa-Garcia claimed later during questioning that he jumped into his vehicle and sped away in order to escape his assailants,
One of Ochoa-Garcia’s attackers allegedly hopped on to the hood of his SUV as he drove, which caused Ochoa-Garcia to lose control of his vehicle. He hit a speed bump, swerved off the road and crashed into a white fence. The SUV then ran into four pedestrians: a 10-year-old, a 12-year-old, and two teenagers, a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old. When the vehicle came to a stop, Ochoa-Garcia fled the scene on foot, reports say. However, police were able to locate him using a K-9 unit.
Two of the pedestrians, the 10-year-old and the 15-year-old, were rushed to a medical center. They apparently suffered from serious injuries. The other two sustained minor injuries, and their current conditions are not publicly known. Reports did not indicate if the victims will press charges, or if a possible lawsuit may be filed against the defendant. Reports also did not mention if police identified or arrested the three men that allegedly attacked Ochoa-Garcia.
An Orlando accident on Tuesday had an even more tragic ending. Rafael Rodriguez of Orlando, Florida was struck in the back of the head by a pickup truck’s mirror as he mowed his lawn Tuesday, sources say. Medical responders rushed him to the Florida Hospital East, where he was promptly pronounced dead. Rodriguez, 55, leaves behind a wife and three children.
Reports say the accident occurred around 4:30 in the afternoon. Rodriguez’s wife had just left her home when she received a phone call regarding the freak accident. She hurried back home to find her husband lying on the ground and a postal worker attempting to resuscitate him. A witness told her that Rodriguez was mowing the lawn when the mirror of a passing pickup truck struck him on the back of the head, near his ear, though she could not confirm where exactly.
A Florida Highway spokesperson was able to identify the driver as David J. Watts of Winter Park, Florida, sources say. He had been driving his Ford F-150 at the time, and he was not taken into custody, sources say. It is unclear whether speed may have played a factor in the accident. It is also unknown whether family members of Rodriguez will pursue a lawsuit against the Watts.