POLK COUNTY, FL - On Saturday, deputies arrested Ernesto Lopez Morales, 32, after he reportedly crashed into a car, killing a 5-year-old girl, and fleeing the scene.
Around 8:30 p.m., Morales was driving at a high rate of speed without headlights, when he crashed his 2005 Chevy Suburban into the rear of a 2016 Hyundai Elantra. The impact was so great that the Hyundai was propelled more than 600 feet after being hit, according to court documents.
Paramedics who responded to the crash, witnessed Morales exit his vehicle and run from the scene.
The driver of the Elantra was treated for her injuries at a local hospital, while the little girl was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
When deputies took Morales into custody, he admitted to the fatal hit-and-run and that he had consumed “six 32-ounce beers” before getting behind the wheel. He was actually on his way to buy more alcohol when he caused the tragedy.
In a press release, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd stated:
Morales has no regard for the law or human life, and we are going to do everything possible to hold him accountable. If he had been in Guatemala and not in the United States illegally, this beautiful little girl would still be alive today.
Morales has been charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death, DUI manslaughter, DUI/property damage, driving without a license causing death, leaving the scene of a crash involving injury. He is currently being held at the Polk County Jail on an ICE detainer.