Bond Lowered For Driver In Deadly Hit & Run
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South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami-Dade judge has lowered the bond amount for Sandor Guillen, the man charged with DUI manslaughter in a horrific crash that killed 13-year-old Kaely Camacho.
During a hearing Tuesday morning, Guillen’s bond amount was reduced from $1 million to $205 thousand. The judge also ordered him not to drink or drive. Guillen and his parents, who are from Nicaragua, also surrendered their passports.
“This court must follow the law,” said Firtel. “I know some people may not like it but it is my sworn duty to uphold the law. People are innocent until proven guilty. This is not a popularity contest based on the numbers of people that turn out in court. We must follow the law.”
The previous bond of $1 million was one of the highest bonds ever in state history for DUI manslaughter, according to authorities. The current bond of $205,000 is also much higher than the average bond for DUI manslaughter.
Judge Firtel asked Guillen and his father about the family’s finances. Guillen told the judge he earned $36,000 year as a physical therapist and did own some property.
“I own property,” said Guillen, “But that property is in foreclosure. It’s a condo.”
The court room was packed with Camacho’s family and friends who did not want the judge to reduce Guillen’s bond amount so that he would stay behind bars. They felt if he was let out, he would flee the country.
“He’s going to find a way out of the country,” said family friend Amanda Tarrant, “He did not get what he deserved.”
“I think it’s terrible. I am so disappointed. He’ll be back on the street soon,” said family friend Jackie Perez.
She told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench that, “This lowering of the bond shows that there are not enough consequences for drinking and driving.”
“We are disappointed in the amount. However with all the restrictions, we can only hope that he stays around. And we are entitled to our day in court. We only hope we’ll have our day in court,” said Bruce Cease, Kaely’s uncle.
But Guillen’s attorney said the judge did the right thing.
“It’s not public opinion that should determine bond. It is not who demonstrates. It’s whether someone is a risk of flight and a danger to the community,” said Guillen’s attorney Bruce Lehr.
In the hallway before the hearing, Kaely’s father Kirk talked about his loss.
“Everything, I love all my kids. Keep in mind we have six. It’s the brothers and sisters that are going to miss her. She was perfect, very loving, tender. She will be missed tremendously,” said Kirk Camacho.
Kaely Camacho was killed when Guillen’s Land Rover T-boned her father’s minivan at U.S.1 and SW 184th Street in Southwest Miami-Dade on Friday, April 13th. Police said Guillen was driving 100 mph on the Miami-Dade busway.
Police said after Guillen hit the Camacho’s minivan, his Land Rover hit a tree, spun five times, and then stopped nearly 400 feet away from the original collision. Guillen then tried to run from the scene but he was caught a couple of blocks away, according to police.
One source close to the investigation told CBS4 News, “anyone within six feet of the subject could smell the booze on him” the morning of the collision.
A source close to the investigation told CBS4 News that in interviews with police, Guillen admitted to have been “drinking hard liquor” before the crash.
Kaely’s father, Kirk Camacho and her 16-year-old sister Bree Ann, were treated at Baptist Hospital and released the same morning.
During a hearing last week, Kirk Camacho told the judge he just wants “justice” for his daughter.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Camacho said while he didn’t agree with the bond reduction he believes in the system.
“We just have to have faith in the system and God. You know justice will be served. All we can do is hope and pray for that,” said Camacho.
“This is awful,” said family supporter Howard Smith, “I mean look at my little daughters. I don’t know how I’d feel if this were me in this situation.”
Over the weekend Kaely’s sister, Bree Ann posted a video on her Facebook page which asked for people to show up at the courthouse. She also started an online petition to support the higher bond amount. Dozens of family, friends and strangers showed up to support the family.
Guillen has been charged with vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury, and driving without a driver’s license resulting in a death.
After he posts bond, Guillen will remain on house arrest with GPS monitoring.