No Bond For Men Charged In Hit & Run Deaths Of Broward Cyclists
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South Florida Crime
COOPER CITY (CBSMiami) – Two men charged in connection with the hit and run deaths of two bicyclists in Cooper City were denied bond Monday morning.
Obrian Oakley, 26, is charged with two counts of first degree murder in the case.
BSO deputies said he ran a red light while trying to flee police after he allegedly got caught breaking into cars.
His accomplice, Sadik Baxter, 25, was not in the car at the time of the crash and is charged with burglary among other things.
According to BSO, Chris McConnell, 61, and Dean Amelkin, 60, were riding near the intersection of Palm Ave. and Sheridan St. when they were hit by Oakley.
Deputies said Oakley ran a red light and collided with another vehicle. Investigators said his silver Infiniti spun out of control and crashed in to McConnell and Amelkin.
“I was thinking it could have been made easily,” said Bill Clark.
He told CBS4′s Joan Murray that Oakley nearly crashed into him just minutes before the cyclists were hit. Clark said Sunday morning he saw a car in his rear view mirror and the driver was Oakley.
“I got a silver Infiniti coming at me at 100 miles per hour,” Clark said. “So I jerked my car into the grass. His bumper was on mine. I said, ‘this guy is gonna kill someone.’”
Detectives said Oakley then fled the scene, prompting a manhunt that included K9s and choppers from other jurisdictions.
According to authorities, Oakley and Baxter broke in to five cars in the Rock Creek neighborhood after a night of gambling at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
“An astute victim actually saw somebody burglarizing his car,” BSO Spokesperson Dani Moschella said. “He jumps into his own car and is able to point out the suspect to deputies.”
Sadik was arrested on scene, but detectives said Oakley managed to get away; but it was during that pursuit that Oakley struck the two cyclists.
Baxter is charged with burglary, larceny and petit theft, but he’s not accused in the cyclists’ deaths.
Oakley is charged with two counts of first degree murder, along with burglary, petit theft, crash involving death or personal injury.
McConnell’s son spoke with CBS4′s Maggie Newland Monday, still in shock over the death of his father.
“He was the most loving guy I’d ever known. He was like a best friend to me too,” said Christopher McConnell. “I’d go to work everyday with him at McConnell air conditioning. Today I missed him very much.”
Christopher said cycling had been rough recently for his father.
“He had an accident four months ago – a little over four months ago - where somebody hit him with a car on his bike. He almost lost his life then, and he was the type of person to get back up and get on his bike and he did,” said Christopher. ”Always loved biking. It’s what he’s been doing for 25 years with his friends. He used to do races when I was little.”
On Sunday, several cyclists gathered to pay their respects to their fellow riders.
Lou Gonzalez started a makeshift memorial.
“They’ve been doing it for 25 years,” Gonzalez said of McConnell and Amelkin. “This was their normal route.”
He said both men always followed the rules of the road.
“We spend a lot of time making sure we’re safe,” Gonzalez said. “We wear our helmets.”
Janet Anglin placed several bouquets on the memorial said she she often sees bikers on the road Sunday morning and the tragedy was tough.
“People just speed by not noting someone they loved was killed here,” said Anglin.
Cyclist Jean Mondazze also stopped by the scene. He told CBS4 News he was once the victim of a hit and run driver while riding his bike. Mondazze said Sunday’s tragedy happens way too often.
“We are totally and completely defenseless,” Mondazze said. “This is a perfect example of what can happen.”
Clark said he feels fortunate and is relieved someone is in custody for the cyclists deaths.
“It was terrible,” Clark said. “I hope they spend the rest of their life in jail.”