PBC deputies believe alcohol involved in deadly crash - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

PBC deputies believe alcohol involved in deadly crash

JoAnn Padilla's family JoAnn Padilla's family
JoAnn Padilla JoAnn Padilla
Moises Padilla, husband Moises Padilla, husband
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By Alex Zequeira email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

LAKE WORTH, FL (WFLX) - A local woman dies in a crash, and investigators now believe alcohol was a factor.

UPDATE, FRI 9:45 AM: The driver who, deputies say, hit the woman had been arrested just days earlier for driving on a suspended license.

Yet, 23-year-old Renee Rodriguez has yet to face charges related to the crash that killed 49-year-old JoAnn Padilla in downtown Lake Worth on Wednesday.

That's hard for the victim's family to swallow, but, prosecutors say, traffic homicide cases often take months to put together. "I know it's hard for the family to understand, but there's just a lot of work that needs to be done."

Under state law, defendants have the right to go to trial in six months. Prosecutors say they risk having cases dismissed if they file charges too soon.

UPDATE, THU 11 AM: A local woman, killed in a hit and run crash, an SUV slammed into a car at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Federal Highway.

The driver of the SUV tried to run, but police caught up with him. Turns out that driver has a past.

Police say that driver ran a red light causing the accident. One look at this guys rap sheet, and it's not hard to tell that he was no stranger to law enforcement.

He has priors for drug possession, grand theft auto, burglary and even a charge for another hit and run.

Now, he's suspected of taking the life of a Greenacres woman leaving her family torn apart.

"We were together for 27 years," cried her husband, Moises Padilla.

That 27 year anniversary was just one month away; instead, early Wednesday morning, Moises Padilla received a call about a bad accident that may have involved his wife, Joann. "I just took off, drove over there, and it was all blocked up, and they wouldn't let me go. I knew it was her when I saw the car."

Padillas worst fear was confirmed. His wife had been killed in a hit and run. Another blow for a family riddled with heartache.

Padilla and his wife recently lost their home to foreclosure, and when he lost his job, his wife, JoAnn, took extra cleaning jobs to make ends meet.

"She kept this home, kept it neat, always cooked, always cleaned, and always kept this family together," described JoAnn's sister Elizabeth Medina.

The main suspect in the case 23-year-old Renee Rodriguez remains a free man. Something that is not sitting well with Padilla's family considering his extensive criminal record.

"Charges on top of charges, pages on top of pages. Four pages from top to bottom. How? What's wrong with this system. You took an innocent life man and I hope you pay for it. I hope you rott in jail," said Medina.

Some strong words for Rodriguez from this grieving family.

By the way, Moises Padilla says he and his wife had planned to spend a quiet Valentine's Day together; instead, Padilla's funeral will be held on Valentine's.

As for Rodriguez, he remains at JFK Hospital with minor injuries. Investigators say charges are pending, but gave no indication about if or when he would be arrested.

Previously: A Ford Explorer and Toyota were involved in a deadly crash that occurred in the intersection of Lake Ave and Federal Highway in Lake Worth.

The man in the Explorer was taken to a local hospital and the female passenger of the Toyota died at the scene. Because of the ongoing investigation, Lake Ave. and Federal Highway in Lake Worth will be shut down until 11:00 a.m. Wednesday.

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