FHP cites officer in OBT crash, lawsuit pending

Yahaira Castro Montalvo, who was injured in a crash resulting from a high-speed chase involving an Ocoee officer, plans to file a lawsuit.

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  • | 4:00 p.m. May 28, 2016
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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OCOEE  A lawsuit against the Ocoee Police Department is pending following a high-speed chase resulted in a collision between an Ocoee police officer and another driver.

Yahaira Castro Montalvo, 26, had both arms broken in the collision, which took place May 12 at Holden Avenue and Orange Blossom Trail. Officer Chris Bonner, 29, was pursuing two armed-robbery suspects around 4:50 a.m. when he ran through a red light, crashing into Montalvo’s car.

According to police reports, the chase began in Altamonte Springs. The suspects are accused of first robbing a man at gunpoint at South Westmonte Drive, before moving on to Kiwi’s Pub & Grill, where they robbed two more people.

According to an Ocoee Police dispatch log, Bonner was on duty as a back-up officer. The suspects’ car was first spotted by Ocoee police at 4:40 a.m. on White and South Clarke roads. Around 4:52 a.m., Bonner was traveling northbound on OBT with lights and sirens activated as he approached Holden Avenue. Police said he was traveling at a speed of up to 90 mph. Bonner’s light was red, and a second police vehicle with him slowed to a stop, but Bonner proceeded through the intersection and collided with Montalvo’s car, police said. 

Both drivers were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Montalvo suffered two broken arms, while Bonner had multiple broken bones.

Florida Statute 316.072 states “the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call, when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, or when responding to a fire alarm…” is authorized to pass through a red light or stop sign “only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation.”

Florida Highway Patrol has found Bonner at fault and cited him for failing to obey traffic laws. FHP’s pursuit policy 17.05.04 states that officers may proceed through an intersection on a red light only after all other vehicles have yielded the right-of-way.

Montalvo said she intends to file a lawsuit, and her attorney, Bryan Crews, wants Ocoee Police to conduct a full investigation. 

As of press time, the armed-robbery suspects are at large.


Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].


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