A Key Largo man who killed a Miami man and left his wife with permanent brain damage in a July 2016 drunk driving, multi-vehicle hit-and-run crash was sentenced to one year time served and five years' probation this week in a plea deal that the victims’ son says adds to the grief the family had been suffering for almost two years.
“Cesar Gomez, now a convicted felon, is out enjoying his freedom and surely boasting about literally getting away with murder while our family suffers this slap in the face,” Alex Bolivar, 44, said this week.
After almost two years of fighting the charges against him, Gomez, 27, this week changed his plea to guilty of vehicular manslaughter, three counts of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crash that caused injury. He’d been held in Monroe County jail on a $445,000 bond since being arrested on Jan. 20, 2017. Along with the time served and probation, Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia also permanently revoked Gomez’s driver’s license.
“The deal was mostly made because the only witness that is still with us is my mother,” Bolivar said. “She was also in the car, and she suffered severe head trauma that kept her in the hospital and rehab for over a month and continues to suffer to this day.”
Prosecutors with the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment to discuss the plea arrangement.
Gomez could not be reached for comment.
Florida Highway Patrol homicide investigator Christine Gracey wrote in her Jan. 20, 2017, arrest warrant that Gomez’s blood alcohol level was more than two times over the legal limit and he had alprazolam, or Xanax, in his system when he struck the 2016 Cadillac CT6 driven by Luis Bolivar, 80, killing him and leaving his wife Clara Bolivar, 79, with severe head injuries.
Clara Bolivar was in a coma after the crash and now “is unable to function daily without the help of nurses and family members,” Gracey wrote in the warrant.
“Between her injuries and her age, it’s never going to get better,” her son said.
Troopers said that about 5:15 p.m., July 22, 2016, Gomez was driving a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta west on Fishermans Trail around mile marker 98. Melanie Link, 33, of Tavernier was driving south on U.S. 1 in a 2004 Lexus in the inside lane.
She was turning left onto Fishermans Trail when Gomez tried to pull into U.S. 1 and struck her car. Gomez drove away southbound on U.S. 1. As he did, his car struck that of Luis Bolivar’s Cadillac, troopers said. Bolivar’s car veered to the right, then into a parking lot. He struck a utility pole and trailer that was parked.
Bolivar was taken to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier, where he was pronounced dead. Gomez, caught, was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. Link and her passenger, who was 12 at the time, were taken to Mariners. Link was seven weeks pregnant and suffered cramping and spot bleeding. The 12-year-old was treated for non-life-threatening neck and back injuries.
Gomez refused to provide a blood sample when he was at Ryder, but Gracey obtained a warrant and was able to get a sample from the hospital.