West Kendall Man Switched Seats With Driver Before Fatal Florida Keys Crash: Authorities

Didier Miles, 24, faces vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter and other charges, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013  |  Updated 1:07 AM EDT
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Didier Miles, 24, of West Kendall

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A Miami man was arrested in connection with a fatal May crash in the Florida Keys in which he switched seats with someone in his car before he drove head-on into a taxi, according to authorities.

The initial driver of the car, Kristen Rivera, 22, of Miami, died following the crash, KeysNet.com reported.

Didier Miles, 24, of West Kendall turned himself in to the Plantation Key jail on Thursday after a warrant was issued for his arrest Tuesday, KeysNet.com reported.

He faces one count each of vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, DUI causing serious bodily injury, DUI causing property damage and leaving the scene of an accident, online Monroe County Sheriff’s Office records said.

On May 13, Kristen Rivera, 22, of Miami was at the wheel of a 2007 Honda Element heading north on U.S. 1 with Miles in the passenger seat, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

But the car was involved in a minor crash when it struck a man’s car around mile marker 85. When the driver approached Rivera for her insurance information, she asked if he’d take money for the damage instead, but he declined and went to get something out of his car, according to KeysNet.com.

That’s when Rivera and Miles switched seats, the FHP said – and as Miles drove north, he struck head-on a Mom’s Taxi that was in the southbound lane.

Driver Charles Akullian’s engine compartment caught on fire, and emergency responders put out the flames. Firefighters freed Rivera and Miles from the Honda and they were flown by air to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, but Rivera died there that night, KeysNet.com reported.

It wasn’t immediately known whether Miles has an attorney. Keysnet.com reported that he was held on $155,000 bond, but on Friday night he was no longer listed as an inmate by the sheriff’s office. An official at the Plantation Key jail said he could not comment on an inmate’s jail status and deferred comment to a public information officer, who he said would not be available Friday night.

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