Watch CBS News

Wrong-way driver in crash that killed 5 on the Palmetto faces charges

Heartbreaking tribute for 5 lives lost in a horrific wrong-way crash
Heartbreaking tribute for 5 lives lost in a horrific wrong-way crash 03:02

MIAMI – The Florida Highway Patrol said Monday that Maiky Simeon, the driver who was headed the wrong way in a crash that killed five people on the Palmetto Expressway early Saturday morning, is facing five counts of vehicular homicide. 

Here is what the FHP had to say about the charges:

"Mr. Simeon has been arrested and charged with 5 counts of Vehicular Homicide. Troopers are awaiting the results of a toxicology report to determine if impairment was a contributing factor. If it is determined that Mr. Simeon was impaired at the time of the crash, additional charges will be filed... Mr. Simeon continues to receive medical care at the hospital while being monitored by law enforcement officials. He will be booked into jail once discharged from the hospital." 

The man driving the wrong way on the Infiniti was identified as 30-year-old Maiky Simeon.  FHP

A small memorial now marks the site where four women and one man were killed on the highway.

Florida Highway Patrol said those killed were in a Honda Accord that was hit head-on by a Silver Infiniti traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes around 4:30 a.m.

That's where loved ones and friends have been stopping by to drop off flowers to honor the victims.

A woman named Francesca, said, "This was not supposed to happen. I knew all of the victims and I did not get a chance to say goodbye."

Authorities said the age range of the victims is between 18 to 25.

Clara Cortes told CBS4's Peter D'Oench that her granddaughter, Briana Pacalagua, died in the crash.

In Spanish, she said, while shedding some tears, "My granddaughter was a great girl. She was very studious. She was marvelous. She did everything. She was a hard worker. She would bring me chocolates and flowers. She was a good friend to everyone. And anyone who was sad, she would help them."

Simeon, 30, was identified as the man driving the wrong way on the Infiniti.

He survived the crash and was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center with serious injuries.

Karen Laverde, who said she was a friend of the victims, said, "It wasn't even their fault. It was the other guy. I ask God why he did that driving the wrong way. I give them my blessings and my strength because if it is hard for us, imagine how it is for them.  Every person in that car had beautiful energy and they were all so young. You know it really hits us all. It is crazy."

FHP troopers are investigating if impairment was a contributing factor in the crash.

"Crews had to use the jaws to cut out one victim that was trapped in his vehicle, unfortunately, the other vehicle there was no one alive to be saved," said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Mark Chavers.

The investigation into the crash continues.

If anyone has information on Simeon's whereabouts prior to the crash, they are urged to contact the Florida Highway Patrol at (305) 470-2500.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.