Boca Raton Woman Killed in Fatal Crash with Armed Robbery Suspect
A forty-six year old mother of two was killed as an armed robbery suspect fled from the police in Boca Raton, Florida. The suspect, later identified as 15-year old Wesley Brown, has been arrested and faces charges of vehicular homicide, murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding causing death. The minor already possessed an extensive previous criminal record which includes six arrests on charges of vehicle theft, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest, robbery, burglary, theft and carrying a concealed firearm. All of these arrests took place this year and yet Brown has managed to remain out of jail.
The events leading to the fatal crash began around 6:00 PM when Brown and another suspect allegedly approached a valet at a Boca Raton event center and demanded car keys at gun point. They proceeded to steal a Ford Mustang that the police began to track down. According to the police department’s report, an officer sighted the stolen car in Boca Raton at 11:21 PM. Police spokeswoman Sandra Bloomberg has stated that “before officers could initiate a traffic stop, the Mustang drove away at a high rate of speed”. It was during this episode that Brown crashed the stolen Mustang into a Honda Pilot. The driver of the Honda Pilot, which police has identified as Wendy Aceves, died at the scene. Local news reports that she was on her way to pick up her daughter, a sophomore in high school, when this happened.
The tragedy that took Wendy Aceves’ life brings to light a number of issues with our current judicial system. The teen arrested in connection with this incident had been arrested six times and continually released by a lenient juvenile criminal justice system that tends to undermine the danger a teenager can present to society. Moreover, the case is still undergoing investigation because it is unclear whether police were in pursuit of Brown when the crash occurred. “While it is true that most high speed pursuits result in the capture and arrest of a fleeing suspect, the price paid for some of these apprehensions has been high.
Many fatalities and serious injuries occur each year as a consequence of pursuit-related accidents. In fact, it has been established that approximately one-fifth of all police pursuits culminate in some type of collision involving the vehicle of the pursued suspect, a police officer or an innocent third party” (Marquette Law Review Vol. 70:237). Because of the potential liability involved with these high speed chases, if established that one took place between Brown and Boca Raton PD, then the Harris family may be able to pursue a wrongful death case.
The two most common issues that arise during the litigation of bodily injury incurred during a police chase involve whether or not the officer fulfilled his duty of care as outlined by their respective department’s internal policy and whether or not an officer’s good faith compliance with departmental procedures for conducting high speed chases acts as a defense to shield the officer and the employer from liability for pursuit-related injury or damage.
Any time these tragedies take place, it is a sobering moment for our local community. Our most sincere hope is that the family affected by this calamity is able to receive the justice that they deserve.
Please consider helping out the family of Wendy Aceves: CLICK HERE