UPDATE: Miami police made an arrest and charged Kieron Darnell Womble, 18, with armed carjacking and additional charges late Tuesday night.
Kieron Darnell Womble began his rampage through Miami by threatening two men with a rifle before carjacking one of the men’s new Honda Civic. It ended with a fiery crash into a Miami police cruiser a day later that paralyzed a major roadway for hours, police said.
South Dixie Highway closed in both directions Tuesday afternoon and traffic remained at a standstill hours into rush-hour traffic after a police chase ended in a fiery crash on U.S. 1 and Southwest 16th Avenue, right where I-95 starts and ends.
Late Tuesday night around 11:30 p.m., as traffic finally was flowing again, Womble, 18, was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on charges of armed carjacking, two counts of battery, reckless driving and other charges by Miami police. He is being held with no bond on the carjacking charge.
City of Miami Police Officer Kiara Delva issued an alert at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday that the roadway near 17th Avenue was closed and to warn motorists away. Police were chasing a robbery suspect in a 2018 red Honda Civic on the southbound lanes of I-95. Around 3 p.m., the chase ended in a head-on collision between Womble and a Miami police cruiser.
News reports showed the Civic had burst into flames, setting both vehicles on fire.
Police say the situation began on Monday night with a carjacking near Jackson Memorial Hospital in the area of Northwest 17th Avenue and 36th Street. Womble, police say, pointed a rifle at two of the victims who were standing next to one of the men’s Honda Civic. According to police, Womble grabbed the man’s keys and took off in his car on Monday.
Womble had kept the Honda overnight. When the victim warned Womble that there were surveillance cameras all over the place, the suspect said he didn’t care, Miami police spokeswoman Delva said.
“The victim robbed them at gunpoint,” she said. Police spotted the Honda on Tuesday, because “it was already reported in the system as stolen.” When officers tried to pull him over, he fled, Delva said.
Tuesday afternoon, around 2:37, officers spotted the victim’s Civic in the area of Northwest 14th Avenue and Northwest 39th Street. Police attempted to stop Womble, but he took off, leading to a police pursuit, the arrest affidavit says.
According to police, when Womble exited I-95 onto U.S. 1 he crossed the median and tried to drive southbound against the flow of traffic but spun out. A Miami police officer, identified as Jordany Bahamonde on the affidavit, placed his cruiser in Womble’s path, “to prevent the driver from endangering the lives of other motorists and civilians. The carjacking vehicle rammed Ofc. Bahamonde’s vehicle causing severe damage to both vehicles,” the report reads.
Bahamonde exited his cruiser but according to police Womble kept accelerating against the front of the police vehicle so the officer got back into his cruiser to stop Womble from getting back into traffic.
Womble was eventually taken into custody as the vehicles burned. Both the suspect and Bahamonde, who had injuries to both knees, were taken to Jackson Memorial and released from the hospital Tuesday night.
The victims of Monday’s carjacking “immediately identified” Womble as the man who pulled a rifle on them and stole the Honda Civic.
The area was heavily congested after 3 p.m. Tuesday as school traffic, and later rush-hour commuters, poured out of downtown Miami to get to Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and parts south.