A drug-buy-gone-bad ends in tourist's death after he's tossed from car hood, cops say

Latravia Reed
Latravia Reed Miami-Dade Department of Corrections

Five days after a man visiting from California was left to die on a roadway, police have made an arrest in a case they say that began as a minor drug purchase and morphed into hit and run.

According to police, Californian Steven Beech, 38, met a woman at a Miami Beach bar, accompanied her to an ATM to get money to go buy drugs, then jumped on the hood of the car as the woman drove off. Early Saturday morning police found Beech bleeding with severe trauma to his head on the road near Liberty Avenue and 20th Street.

He died in the hospital two days later.

Wednesday afternoon, police arrested Latravia Chantae Reed, 33 and charged her with first-degree murder, leaving the scene of a deadly crash, strong-arm robbery and credit card fraud. Police caught up to Reed in Doral after identifying her blue Hyundai Veloster and with help of video surveillance.

"Ms. Reed gave a detailed account of her activities throughout the night prior to and after the vehicle struck Mr. Beech," an officer wrote in her arrest affidavit.

She is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight correctional center and was denied bond.

Police say they were called to Liberty Avenue and 20th Street just after 4 a.m. Saturday. Detectives said they narrowed their search to the blue Hyundai after speaking with witnesses and viewing surveillance video. The car was then linked to an address in Doral.

When they spotted Reed getting into the vehicle at 11175 NW 78th Ln., in Doral, they detained her — but for a different violation that occurred on Miami Beach. Once at the police station, police say, Reed began to talk.

Police said she told them she met Beech at the Free Spirits Bar on Miami Beach and that they agreed to get in her car and drive to a bank on Washington Avenue and 17th Street, where Reed used Beech's ATM card to withdraw $300. Then, she told police, they set off to buy drugs.

Once at the Riviera Hotel, Reed said Beech got out of the car. Then, for some reason, she got nervous and decided to drive off. Beech, whose money was in the car, then jumped on the vehicle's hood. Police said surveillance video backed up Reed's statements.

Police said they were told by witnesses that shortly after that as the car drove off, they heard a large "thud" sound and watched as the Hyundai drove away with Beech's body on the ground. Twice on the way home, Reed tried to use Beech's credit cards to purchase items in Miami. She was denied both times, but did manage to spend $7 on a pack of cigarettes.

After police showed Reed the video from the Riviera Hotel, police said she told them, "I just wanted to leave. I knew I had the money in the car."

She told them she has no recollection of hitting Beech with her car.

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