Suspect Who Fled Crash that Killed Teen Confessed to FHP, According to Report

MONTVERDE, Florida—The man who hit a high school freshman earlier this week was found by his boss using a tracking device and turned over to the Florida Highway Patrol, along with the two occupants who were in the car with him, and the driver confessed to the crime, according to a report.

Owen Wells, 14, a ninth grader at Lake Minneola High School, was killed around 6:20 a.m. Thursday on County Road 455 near Willo Pines Lane when he was struck by a Pontiac G6 being driven by Enrique Ramirez, 57, of Winter Garden. The impact threw the teen into the southbound lane of County Road 455 and Owen was then struck a second time by a Dodge Ram being driven by Jeffrey Bolin, 59, of Ferndale. Bolin stopped after the crash, stayed on scene and gave troopers a statement; Ramirez stopped briefly and then fled the scene, he told troopers.

According to the arrest report, Ramirez said he was “scared” and believed because other people stopped, he did not have to; Ramirez had two of his coworkers in his car when he hit Owen. The trio fled to their boss’ house a few miles away, left the vehicle with the damaged left headlight, picked up a work truck for the landscaping business they work for and went about their day.

Owen Wells and his two younger brothers PHOTO: GoFundMe/Support for the Wells’s Family

Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies located the vehicle in front of the home just a few miles from the scene of the crash. Troopers responded and observed damage consistent with the crash and it matched “perfectly” to reflectors and mirror housing parts left on the scene, according to the report. They spoke with Esdras Rivera, owner of the landscaping business, who told them Ramirez and his buddies, Alberto Perez Hernandez and Francisco Javier Zacarias Cononado, were “acting weird” and seemed “very short” when they arrived earlier to pick up the work truck.

Rivera told troopers he had a tracking device on the work truck and could locate Ramirez. The Pontiac was towed by FHP for processing with an FHP sergeant following close behind, according to the report. Rivera located Ramirez, Hernandez and Cononado, picked them up and took the trio to the FHP station on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando where they were questioned, the report states. Attempts to reach Rivera for comment were unsuccessful.

 All three were interviewed by troopers and Ramirez admitted he was driving the Pontiac at about 40 miles per hour northbound on County Road 455 when he saw a person’s shadow on the roadway and swerved to avoid the person. He said he struck the person, and the person was struck by a truck, according to the report.

Enrique Ramirez

Ramirez said he stopped briefly, then left the scene because he was “scared” and “others had stopped so he thought he could leave,” the report states. Ramirez’ passengers, Hernandez and Cononado both admitted they were passengers in the car at the time of the crash and fled the scene. They have not been charged and FHP has turned its findings over to the State Attorney’s Office for review, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi told Inside Lake.

Ramirez was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash involving death and transported to the Lake County Jail. Troopers requested no bond when he was booked into the jail, and the bond has since been lowered to $100,000. Ramirez remained in LCJ at press time.

An account has been set up to help support Owen’s family, to donate, visit Support for the Wells Family

Pedestrian Killed Thursday Morning, CR 455 Shut Down

MONTVERDE, Florida—A pedestrian fatality has shut down County Road 455 Thursday morning.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a vehicle and a pedestrian were involved in a crash of County Road 455 near Willo Pines Lanes just before 6:30 a.m. The pedestrian was killed and motorists can expect County 455 to be shut down for several hours.

This is a developing story.

Deputies Step Up Patrols After Unidentified Man Told Tween Boy to Get in His SUV at Bus Stop Thursday Morning

CLERMONT, Florida—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has stepped up patrols at bus stops around County Road 455 and 3rd Avenue in unincorporated Clermont after a 12-year-old boy said a stranger called him by name and told him to get in his SUV, according to LCSO Sgt. Jim Vachon.

The East Ridge Middle School student was walking to his bus stop around 8:30 a.m. Thursday when an older white male driving a silver SUV  with tinted windows approached him.

“According to the student, the driver knew his name and instructed the student to get in his car, to which the student refused. The student stated he then called his mother and fled to a nearby home, where he waited until the bus arrived,” Vachon said in an email.

A witness confirmed the SUV was in the area and interacting with the boy and saw the boy run away, Vachon said.  

The suspect is described as an older white male, with white hair and a white beard and he was wearing a black shirt. Detectives are working to identify the man and are asking anyone with information to call LCSO at 352-343-2101.

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