OKEECHOBEE — A young woman was fatally injured Saturday night, May 9, when a vehicle traveling in front of her struck a third vehicle which in turn hit her.
According to her father, his daughter, driving a PT Cruiser, was on her way home from shopping on the coast at approximately 8:25 p.m. when the Ford Edge in front of her began behaving erratically, weaving back and forth, on State Road 710, near 54th Avenue and the Ag Center.
That vehicle clipped a Dodge Ram pickup, and this sent the Dodge out of control, swerving off the road. The driver over-corrected in an attempt to get back on the road and hit The PT Cruiser head-on. The driver and passenger of the PT Cruiser were both injured in the crash, and both girls were flown to Lawnwood.
The father continued, saying the car that caused the accident had an expired tag and the driver was uninsured. There were two males in the car, and after the accident, they both ran away from the scene on foot. They caught the passenger right away, but the driver was not caught until Monday, when he was arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
All three vehicles were inoperable and are impounded in Okeechobee County, he said. The father said he understood it was not the fault of the driver who hit his daughter. “His truck got knocked out of control,” he said. “There was really nothing he could do.” He also wanted those who stayed with his daughter until the firefighters got her out of the car to know he is very grateful to them for being there for his daughter.
Her parents rushed to the hospital and were able to see her before she passed away the following morning.
The passenger survived and is recovering.
William Edilzar Martin Chavez, 26, Palm Beach, was arrested and charged with hit and run – leaving the scene of an accident involving injury; hit and run – failure to remain at a crash involving death; two counts driving without a license – causing death or serious injury with a vehicle; hit and run – failure to remain at a crash involving injury to others; and, hit and run – leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to property.
Bond was set at $130,000.