In a special bond hearing Wednesday, accused Interstate 95 wrong-way driver Willie Dumel was handed two new charges, and saw his bond raised on four manslaughter charges he was already facing in the deadly April accident. Dumel's attorney, Andrew Rier, and prosecutor Griska Rodriguez spoke about the case.
In a special bond hearing Wednesday, accused Interstate 95 wrong-way driver Willie Dumel was handed two new charges, and saw his bond raised on four manslaughter charges he was already facing in the deadly April accident.
Prosecutors moved to raise charges against Dumel, after Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle signed off on forms designating Dumel as an habitual felony offender. With that designation, prosecutors charged him with driving with a suspended license, and second-degree arson.
The arson charge stems from the explosion that erupted at the crash scene on I-95 near Ives Dairy Road. Police said the crash killed all four passengers in a Kia minivan traveling north, and left Dumel, who was barreling south fleeing Opa-locka Police, with two broken legs.
Dumel's attorney, Andrew Rier, attacked the reasoning behind the arson charge.
"I'm pretty sure Mr. Dumel's plan wasn't to blow up that night, and that's basically what the arson charge was," Rier explained.
Prosecutor Griska Rodriguez said the charge still stands, no matter Dumel's intention.
"The statute specifically says that if you're in the commission of a felony and you cause fire damage to a conveyance, then we can charge you with arson," she said.
Dumel initially faced four counts of vehicular homicide, but no action was taken on those, online Miami-Dade court records show. He now faces the four manslaughter counts, and one each of driving with a suspended license and second-degree arson.
Even though Dumel remains in custody on a probation violation hold, the judge reset his bond on his manslaughter charges at $30,000 per count. Dumel's bond for the suspended license and arson charges total $45,000.
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