The Miami motorist who killed four tourists in a wrong-way wreck on Interstate 95 while being chased by an Opa-locka cop will serve 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday.
Willie Dumel, 28, must also serve a decade of probation on the conviction for four counts of vehicular manslaughter.
The fiery wreck sparked criticism of Opa-locka police and led to a flurry of wrongful-death lawsuits against the department and the officer, Sergio Perez. The police department later fired Perez, whose decision to chase Dumel figured to be the focal point of his defense had he gone to trial.
On April 3, 2013, Perez saw Dumel making an apparent illegal right turn at Northwest 143rd Street and 22nd Avenue. According to state troopers, Dumel led him on a high-speed chase, eventually speeding the wrong way on the exit ramp onto the interstate at Ives Dairy Road.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Dumel, at the time, was on probation for aggravated assault.
Perez later told his superiors that he broke off the pursuit, but audio from police radio transmissions appeared to contradict the claim.
Dumel plowed into a rental SUV driving south. Killed were Lily-Marie Azarcon, 26, who worked for a Philippines-based real estate developer; her colleague Dennis Ryan Riñon Ortiz, 33; U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Albertson Anthony Almase, 31, and his sister, Kristina Angela Almase, 26, a nurse.
The two women were single mothers. The relatives of the dead blessed the plea deal.
“This brings partial closure to the family, and allows them to focus on the circumstances surrounding the high-speed chase that led to the deaths,” said Miami lawyer Edward Blumberg, who represents the Almase family.
The lawsuits against the city of Opa-locka remain ongoing.
“The state followed the wishes of the victims in giving my client a second chance on life,” said Dumel’s defense lawyer, Andrew Rier.