A Leesburg man is behind bars after being accused of fleeing the scene of a crash that left a motorcyclist dead Wednesday night.
Leesburg Police officers located a vehicle crash at about 6:44 p.m. on Montclair Road near the intersection with Lone Oak Drive. Officers reported that 47-year-old Joseph McMurrey, of Fort Walton Beach, was on the ground near a blue 2005 Suzuki motorcycle. Officers attempted to render aid and McMurrey was transported to UF Health Leesburg Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the report says.
Leesburg officers investigating the crash found pieces from a Honda vehicle and then went to the nearby B&M Superette to watch footage from video surveillance cameras. The footage showed the motorcycle traveling eastbound on Montclair Road at 6:31 p.m. and a white Honda crossing over Thomas Avenue a minute later. Surveillance footage from security cameras at the nearby Latino Style Beauty Salon also showed both vehicles in the immediate area.
A short time later, an officer on a security check at Montclair Village Apartments noticed a vehicle with substantial front-end damage parked behind one of the units. The officer made contact with 35-year-old Pierre Jonathan Lambaren Resendez, who said the vehicle belonged to his family. When asked if it had been involved in a recent crash, he said “he wasn’t driving and it was his wife’s car.” When asked to speak with his wife, he said she was in the hospital “and then quickly changed his story to perhaps someone stole his vehicle,” the report says.
After being read his rights, Lambaren Resendez eventually said that his two children, ages 12 and 8, were inside the vehicle. Officers spoke with them and they said their father was driving home when a crash occurred. When confronted, Lambaren Resendez confessed to the crash, according to the report.
Lambaren Resendez told officers that he was traveling westbound on Montclair Road and wasn’t wearing his glasses. He said as he entered a turn in the roadway, he was blinded by solar glare and then the vehicle’s airbags went off. He said he thought he had hit an animal but didn’t stop to check. He also claimed that he had looked in front of him and behind him but didn’t seen anything in the roadway, so he drove to his residence, according to the report.
Lambaren Resendez was placed under arrest and transported to the Leesburg Police Station for booking and then to the Lake County Jail. He was charged with vehicular homicide, hit-and-run (failing to stop and remain at a crash involving death) and driving while license suspended (causing death or serious injury). He was being held on $60,000 bond and is due in court June 21 at 8:30 a.m., jail records show.
The crash investigation is ongoing and anyone with information, video or witness statements is asked to contact the police department’s traffic unit at (352)728-9860, ext. 3838.