MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An arrest has been made more than a year after a driver lost control of his car and crashed into the back of a Miami police officer’s motorcycle, killing the officer.
Ronald Nicholas Pla, 27, is in custody at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center but could bond out at any time..
Pla is being charged with Vehicular Homicide for the death of officer Jorge Sanchez, according to FHP.
“Mr. Pla is being charged with vehicular homicide,” said FHP Lt. Alex Camacho. “After extensive research with Mr. Pla’s doctors it was determined he was not supposed to be operating a motor vehicle at the time of the crash.”
This from the arrest warrant documents: “According to the crash data recorder, the defendant’s vehicle was traveling 116 miles per hour at the time of the collision.”
Sanchez was killed in November 2016 while on his way to work. He was at a red light at SW 137th Avenue and 8th Street, when Pla lost control of his white Infinity and slammed into Sanchez, according to FHP investigators.
“This was an officer…that enjoyed his job. He served every day and because of someone’s carelessness, he lost his life..his family. It is tragic,” said Lt. Camacho.
The arrest warrant states Pla struck Sanchez’ motorcycle from behind.
Pla’s car kept going and he struck several other vehicles causing a chain-reaction crash. About a dozen people were hurt.
The arrest warrant states Pla had THC, cannabis, in his system, according to toxicology reports.
The report also states he had other substances in his system but the report redacted the specific information as to what exactly what was in his system.
“This is still an ongoing criminal investigation,” Camacho said.
The passenger in Pla’s car, Abraham Miranda, also told police that right before the crash, Pla appeared to be “awake physically but mentally was just in a stare,” as the car began to accelerate. He tried to control the car, he said, “after it seemed the Defendant’s foot was stuck on the accelerator.”
After the crash, Miranda said Pla was “unresponsive when he kept trying to call his name.”
Miranda said he was aware Pla had what he called “silent (redacted) where he just freezes,” and that he had witnessed these (redacted) in the past.”
According to Pla’s medical records, he was in a car crash in 2012 that resulted in headaches, blank stares, slurred speech and confusion and his family noticed mild jerky movements on the left side of his face and arm.
He was under a doctor’s care starting in July 2014 but he had symptoms of a (redacted) disorder six months prior to that date.
The neurologist did have him on undisclosed medication.
However, in Sept. 2016, he told the doctor he “stopped taking his medications because he could not afford them.” The medical records stated he had suffered another episode and he’d been off his medications for three months.
That was the last time Pla saw his neurologist before the fatal crash that killed Officer Sanchez.
He had been told to return on October 20th but didn’t return until the day after the crash.
Sanchez was less than a year from retirement.