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Leesburg driver tracked after allegedly attacking fellow motorist after 2023 car crash

A Leesburg man was jailed Tuesday for breaking a man’s car window to attack him after their involvement in a car collision early last year.

Tyre Orlando Morales
Tyre Orlando Morales

On March 16, 2023, officers with the Leesburg Police Department met with the male victim in the Northlake Plaza, located at 1706 Citrus Boulevard, to report a vehicle crash and battery that took place at about 8 p.m., according to an affidavit of probable cause out of Lake County. The battery was a result of a car crash, later found to involve 24-year-old Tyre Orlando Morales, near the intersection of the plaza on U.S. Hwy. 441/27. 

The victim advised he was driving a blue BMW passenger car when he was involved in a car crash on the roadway, and both vehicles pulled into the Northlake Plaza after the crash because neither was incapacitated. The other vehicle was a gray Chevrolet passenger car with a temporary registration. It was driving recklessly and came into the victim’s lane, crashing into the right side of his vehicle and damaging it, the affidavit said. 

After verifying that emergency medical personnel were not needed, an officer spoke with the victim about the events that transpired. He explained that after the collision with the gray car, he followed the vehicle into a parking lot to report the incident to police. Upon stopping in the parking lot behind it, Morales exited the driver’s seat of the car to meet the victim at his car as he sat in the driver’s seat, the affidavit said. 

While yelling at the victim, Morales reached into the victim’s vehicle and struck him several times with a closed fist on the left side of the victim’s face and head area through the open window. The victim remained seated in the driver’s seat, suffering a bloody nose and lip as a result, the affidavit said. 

Once Morales struck the victim several times, he walked back toward the gray car he was driving. He opened the driver’s door but did not get in. He instead turned around and walked back toward the victim who was immediately concerned for his safety due to his perception that Morales may have acquired a weapon when he went back to the gray car, the affidavit said. 

The victim tried to roll up the window of his car to avoid being battered again, however Morales grabbed the window and pulled it until it broke off, causing an estimated $450-500 in damage. Morales reached into the victim’s vehicle and struck him several more times on his left shoulder area. After the second attack, Morales returned to the gray car and fled the scene northbound on U.S. Hwy. 441/27 toward Fruitland Park, the affidavit said. 

The victim followed Morales until they got near Indian Trail Road. He decided to stop following Morales as he realized it was not a good idea. He instead notified LPD and returned to the incident location to wait for responding officers to arrive, the affidavit said. 

A short time later, the suspect vehicle also returned to the scene, this time being driven by the female registered owner with an unidentified male. She returned to the scene just before the police arrived, the affidavit said. 

While one of the officers interviewed the victim, he observed small amounts of dried blood directly underneath the victim’s nose and in the left corner of his mouth. He also observed the victim’s shoulder was red in color. Additionally, the front driver’s window of the victim’s vehicle was shattered. Due to the tint holding the shattered glass together, the top half of the window was laying on the ground in the parking lot near the victim’s vehicle, the affidavit said. 

After speaking with the victim, the officer talked to the registered owner of the vehicle. According to her, both vehicles relocated to the business parking lot after the motor vehicle collision. The victim was outside the blue BMW inspecting the damage when her son, whom she identified as “Jason Harris,” began yelling at the victim. The victim’s vehicle window shattered when the victim slammed the door. She could not advise how he sustained injuries. Her son left the scene with her, traveling northbound on Citrus Boulevard, the affidavit said. 

The owner continued explaining that they took a photo of the blue BMW and license plate before dropping her son off at his job in Lady Lake. She was adamant that a physical altercation did not take place. When asked for her son’s identifying information, she gave the name “Jason J. Harris” and his birthdate, but she could not provide his Social Security number, the affidavit said. 

The officer was unable to find a Florida driver’s license issued to that name with the identifying information, nor could they find a match in all 50 states. The spelling and date of birth were confirmed for a second time. She could not provide any photos or witness evidence for the investigation, though, the affidavit said. 

Additionally, the phone number given by the owner for her son was determined to be disconnected when the Communications Center tried to call him. The officer asked her to call her so, at which point she told him that her cell phone was dead. She offered to bring her son back to Leesburg for the crash investigation but never followed through on this action, the affidavit said. 

The officer informed her that she would be charged accordingly if she intentionally gave false identifying information for her son or if her written statement was false. Before leaving the scene, she claimed she would drive her son to the police department for an interview on his break at about 11:30 p.m. that day. But she never brought her son to the department at any time. It was concluded she knowlingly gave false information to law enforcement multiple times, and criminal charges against her were deemed forthcoming in the case, the affidavit said. 

On March 21, 2023, an LPD detective assumed the investigation. He contacted the victim and went over the report with him for content and clarity. According to the victim, he did not believe there was a female in the car at the time of the crash, the affidavit said. 

The victim described the black male driver as light skinned and being very clean cut with short hair. He believed the man to be about 20-25 years of age. Due to the victim sitting in his vehicle during their interaction, he was unable to give an exact height for the man but estimated him at 5’-09” to 5’-10”. He reiterated that he did not believe there was a female in the front passenger seat at the time of the incident, the affidavit said. 

Using the information provided by the owner in her original statement, the detective researched the family dynamics with all her children. She had two sons, one of which did not match the description given by the victim. The other son, Morales, was identified and developed as a suspect at that point. The victim stated he could identify the man if he saw him again, the affidavit said. 

A photo lineup was created using six males, and on March 25, 2023, it was administered to the victim. He immediately identified Morales as the person who struck him multiple times after the traffic crash. He also had a visible injury to his left shoulder which were multiple bruises consistent with his original account of the incident. The progression of this injury was photographed as evidence, the affidavit said. 

On April 19, 2023, the detective tried to call the owner but received her voicemail. He requested a call back from her in the investigation. She never did so, but on the morning of April 25, 2023, he got a call from Morales that was recorded for evidentiary purposes. He confirmed his personal information and proceeded to give a statement of the events that transpired on March 16, 2023, during the traffic crash, the affidavit said. 

Morales admitted that he was driving his mom’s car when the crash happened. He placed blame on the victim and advised the victim collided with his vehicle two times during the crash before he pulled into the parking lot. He confronted the victim at the victim’s car, and an argument ensued, the affidavit said. 

The victim rolled his window up on Morales who responded by slamming the victim’s car door, shattering it. His account of events did not make sense as far as how the victim was injured during the confrontation and how the window shattered. He stated he never touched the victim even though he sustained multiple injuries that appeared to be very recent in time, the affidavit said. 

The detective later determined that Morales did not have a valid driver’s license in any state at the time of the crash, although he did have an ID card issued through Florida. He also found a criminal history for Morales in Michigan. He advised during his phone interview with the detective that he had a valid Florida license at the time of the crash which was a false statement. He admitted that he messed up and panicked after the crash happened, the affidavit said. 

Morales was ultimately arrested earlier this month by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with two counts of burglary with assault or battery (forced entry) and criminal mischief (over $200 under $1,000) and transported to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Bond was set at $51,000.

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