May 19–The Florida Highway Patrol released a jarring video on Wednesday showing an Ocoee police officer speeding through a red light without stopping or slowing down before slamming into a vehicle at 90 miles an hour.
Sparks fly as the vehicles spin out of control before the police cruiser crashes into a fire hydrant.
Officer Chris Bonner, 29, was found at fault and received a ticket for “failing to obey traffic laws” when he ran the red light, FHP said.
He suffered “multiple broken bones” and remains at the hospital, according to Ocoee police.
The driver of the other vehicle, Yahaira Castro Montalvo, 26, suffered two broken arms and plans to file a lawsuit, she said at a news conference on Wednesday.
She had two casts on her arms and put a pillow on a table to hold them up.
“I’m just worried about my health right now because I can barely do anything,” she said. “I just want to get better. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.”
She also said she worried about having to take time off of work.
“I don’t like to sit at home and do nothing, you know?” she said.
Montalvo said she was on her way to work at a Walmart shortly before 5 a.m. May 12 and was going eastbound on Holden Avenue and had a green light to cross Orange Blossom Trail when she was hit by Bonner’s cruiser. Bonner was headed north on Orange Blossom Trail.
Bonner, who had his lights and sirens activated, was pursing a stolen car suspect in an earlier armed robbery in Altamonte Springs.
Ocoee police said officers tried to stop the vehicle after realizing it matched the description of one used earlier in two armed robberies in Altamonte Springs.
The suspects then fled, and Ocoee officers gave chase.
“The police officer’s duty is to protect and serve,” said Bryan Crews, an attorney representing Montalvo. “The officer is never allowed to needlessly endanger the public in a high-speed pursuit.”
Ocoee police said it will conduct an internal investigation once it receives more information from FHP.
Its policy states an officer must “clear” an intersection before going through a red light. The other officer involved in the chase said he saw the light change to red and stopped.
The vehicle suspected in the robberies got away, police said.
The suspects are accused of forcing a man out of his vehicle at gunpoint in the Bobby G’s Sports Bar & Grill on South Westmonte Drive.
Then they took a firearm and wallet from him, Altamonte Springs police said.
Shortly after, the same men robbed a woman of her cellphone and wallet in the parking lot of Kiwi’s Bar and Grill on State Road 436, according to police.
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