Police have charged a man they said was behind the wheel of a SUV that slammed into a car last month in southwest Miami-Dade, killing all three people inside including a Miami teacher.
Rodney Rodriguez, 24, was charged with three counts of vehicular homicide and one count of grand theft for the August 31st incident.
In bond court Friday, a judge gave Rodriguez an $800,000 bond in the case. Police say Rodriguez took a white Range Rover from a South Miami parking garage and told officers he was "picking it up for a friend."
Rodriguez said he had never driven a car like that and he "took it for a joy ride" while going nearly 115 miles per hour.
According to police, an officer attempted to pull over the Range Rover for speeding on the Palmetto Expressway when it pulled off onto Sunset Drive at a high rate of speed.
The incident happened near the intersection of Sunset Drive and Southwest 92nd Avenue, where a grey KIA crashed into a pole after it was struck by the Range Rover police driven by Rodriguez.
The driver of the KIA was ejected and died at the scene. Two passengers in the car also died at the scene. They were later identified as 51-year-old Adalberto Cereijo, 49-year-old Karina Diaz Chacon and 75-year-old Elena Diaz.
Diaz Chacon was a teacher for nine years at The Creative Learning Center in Miami, where she taught toddlers, the school confirmed.
"Ms. Karina was a passionate toddler teacher. Not many can handle working with 2-year-olds," said program director Emilu Alvarez. "She gave the children the foundation of what they needed to continue to their next developmental level. She did this with love and respect to each child’s needs and individuality. Our school is in mourning."
Rodriguez was transported to Kendall Regional Medical Center, with police saying he was believed to be driving under the influence.
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