Suspect in fatal Selmon Expressway crash sobs in court; denied bond, held on pre-trial detention

Amber Perera cried, appeared to pray in court
Posted at 2:49 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 17:44:02-04

Amber Perera, the suspect charged in a fatal crash that claimed the lives of two adults and one child on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in South Tampa on Thursday, August 10, will remain in jail without bond after a hearing on Wednesday morning. 

Perera walked into the courtroom crying and shaking and appeared very emotional during the hearing.

Our ABC Action News crew in the courtroom says she showed remorse, even mouthing "I'm so sorry" to the ceiling with her hands clasped together. 

Some of the victims' family members were also in tears as they relived the moments of the crash in court today. The State Attorney's Office had Tampa Police officers as witnesses in court today describing the details of their investigation into the crash scene. 



Perera's family was also in court for the hearing, but declined to speak on camera after the hearing.

A co-worker of Perera's at Stopa Law Firm testified to Amber having seizures at work in the months before the fatal crash, including the same morning of the crash.

A witness of the crash last Thursday, a local professor of finance, testified in court today that he followed Perera's vehicle after the crash until her vehicle stopped, and she got out and asked him what had happened, and that she'd had a seizure.

Perera's private attorney, Hubbell Losson, also revealed Perera took prescription medications aimed at preventing seizures, but that the medications didn't seem to be effect. She was having seizures on a daily basis, says Losson.

It's for that reason that the Circuit Court judge deemed Perera a threat to society.

"I'm blown away that someone who has a seizure every day would go out and drive a car," said Judge Margaret Taylor.



Perera, now ordered to be held on pre-trial detention, will remain in the Hillsborough County Jail with no bond. 

Perera was charged with three counts of DUI manslaughter, DUI serious bodily injury, hit and run failure to remain on scene involving serious injury or death, and tampering with evidence following the fatal crash.

She faces a mandatory minimum of four year in prison for each of the DUI manslaughter charges, if convicted.

ORIGINAL STORY | Woman charged after 1 child, 2 adults die in hit-and-run crash on Selmon Expressway

A Kia vehicle Perera was driving eastbound on the expressway near Euclid Avenue went out of control and struck Hyundai about 4 p.m. Thursday. The Hyundai careened across the median and entered the path of a Jeep and SUV. Both vehicles collided with the Hyundai, which burst into flames.

Police identified the three people killed in the accident as Luis Felipak, 41, Rita Felipak, 29, and Georgia Felipak, 8.