Another case of road rage has led to a tragic death.
According to police in Orange City, Florida, Sara Morales was killed by Andrew Derr after he followed her home on his motorcycle in the wake of a road rage incident on Saturday, November 20.
Shortly after 5 p.m., police responded to a 911 call reporting a hit and run crash on North Volusia Avenue. In a statement released on the department’s Facebook page, police said the Morales, who was five months pregnant, had purposely struck 40-year-old Derr on his motorcycle, sharing:
“This was a minor crash, Derr was not injured or ejected from his motorcycle.”
The statement went on to explain that Derr and other witnesses tried to stop the 36-year-old’s blue Kia from leaving, but she managed to flee the scene. Derr and some of the other witnesses then “followed Morales in attempt to help identify her for law enforcement,” police said.
Officers allege the pursuers stopped at Morales’ house on Wisconsin Ave and called 911 to identify the address. After a short time, the woman re-emerged and, following a confrontation, pointed a handgun at the group — which Derr allegedly responded to by taking out a handgun of his own and shooting her. The statement continued:
“Morales went into her house and re-emerged a short time later. Morales confronted the witnesses and Derr, as they were on the phone with 911. Morales pointed a handgun at the witnesses and Derr. Derr, having a valid Florida Concealed weapons permit, drew his concealed handgun and fired multiple rounds, striking Morales. Morales’ handgun was recovered on-scene.”
The department said Derr stayed on the scene and “has been cooperating with law enforcement from the beginning,” adding:
“These facts have been established by independent interviews.”
In police bodycam footage (below), Derr can be seen complying with officers who order him to get on the ground and not move. He begged:
“Please don’t shoot me! I’m not going to move. That girl tried to kill me. She pointed a gun at me.”
As he’s handcuffed face down, the motorcyclist alleged Morales “tried to kill” him and that he was trying to “defend” himself, telling officers:
“I’m so sorry. She tried to kill me, and those other people are armed too, they have guns too… Please be easy gentlemen. I didn’t do anything wrong to defend myself.”
In a recently released 911 call made by Morales, the pregnant woman claimed the men were being aggressive and threatening her, per WFTV. Morales’ mother Doreen Flaherty also called 911, telling the dispatcher her daughter had been shot. She screamed in the recording:
“My daughter, she’s been shot! My daughter’s been shot, 10-52 Wisconsin in Orange City. Get here immediately, she’s pregnant!”
However, another witness on the scene said in a separate 911 call that Derr was acting in “self-defense.” They told the dispatcher:
“The lady is shot. The dude on the bike shot her. He shot her in self-defense.”
Morales’ boyfriend, Wilber Perez, told the News-Journal that she was scared after being chased down by three men to her home. He said:
“She is not the kind to give trouble or just go about pulling a gun on people. She must have been really scared having her mother and her 11-year-old daughter at home.”
Perez said Flaherty saw her daughter with her hands in the air telling Derr and the others to leave when she was shot. Flaherty told the outlet:
“She was shot dead in her own yard. She is gone at 36 years old. She was pregnant with her second child and she leaves her 11-year-old daughter and a loving fiance.”
It’s still unclear what led to the initial road rage incident, but Orange City police Lt. Jason Sampsell claimed that Derr and Morales exchanged words just before she struck him. Sampsell said:
“We don’t know why she hit him. She swerved into him and prior to the vehicle making impact he warned her to stay away, and he is pulling away and she gets to the side of him and comes right into him.”
Derr and the other two witnesses who followed Morales home don’t know each other, according to Sampsell. So far, no arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.
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