NewsPolk County


Driver responsible for crash that killed 4 in Polk was fleeing crime scene, sheriff says

Fatal crash
Posted at 2:01 PM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 17:19:28-05

Four people were killed in a crash in Polk County on Monday as a result of a driver fleeing the scene of a crime, Sheriff Grady Judd announced Wednesday.

“It was total carnage. It’s among the worst traffic fatalities we’ve seen in this county," said Judd.

According to the Sheriff's Office, 35-year old Riquelme Villar-Villalona physically battered and allegedly kidnapped his girlfriend, which was reported at about 11:45 a.m. The person who called 911 told dispatchers that Villar-Villalona was beating up a woman and forced her into a black Mazda. The caller said "if you do not stop them I believe he's gonna kill her, I am dead serious. Please have someone stop that vehicle, she was bleeding."

Detectives later determined that the victim of the assault and abduction was dropped off and taken to Poinciana Medical Center, where she was treated for injuries including a laceration to the face.

Detectives say the victim was uncooperative, but they ultimately discovered the suspect was Villar-Villalona.

Just before noon, a PCSO patrol deputy spotted a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description (Black Mazda, aggravated battery and possible abduction suspect) on Marigold Avenue and attempted a traffic stop, but the vehicle sped away south swerving into the wrong lane of travel. Authorities say the deputy deactivated his emergency equipment, did not pursue the vehicle, but continued driving in the same direction monitoring his radio for additional information.

“He does not engage the vehicle. He does not keep up with the vehicle but he’s going in that direction, as we’re now looking for our victim to see if she’s in the community or in the suspect's vehicle,” said Judd.

Villar-Villalona would then turn west off of Marigold onto Lake Hatchineha Road, where he later struck the 2016 Ford F-150 which caused the crash. PCSO says the deputy who attempted the traffic stop later came upon the crash, reported it, and began rendering aid to the crash victims.

According to evidence and witness statements collected after the crash, Villar-Villalona's black 2019 Mazda CX-5 was driving west at a high rate of speed and struck a black 2016 Ford F-150, also traveling west, in the left, rear quarter-panel and tire. The impact caused the Ford to enter the eastbound lane and strike another truck.

Three people died at the scene and a fourth died the next day.

Two passengers involved in the crash remain in the hospital and a third was treated and released.

"Had Villar-Villalona survived the crash, he would have been charged with abduction and aggravated battery charges for the first event, and numerous charges for the crash, the worst of which being three counts of vehicular homicide," Judd said.

Here have been a total of eight people killed in car crashes in Polk County in a span of 44 hours. Ahead of New Year's Eve festivities, the sheriff has a message.

"If you can't use tow and go, you can't find Uber, call the sheriff’s office. We’ll get you home rather than have you get out on the road and kill yourself and someone else," said Judd.