Tuesday, August 21, 2018
News Roundup

Ex-boyfriend stalked her, says survivor of fatal crash

LARGO — The 911 call captured the chaos inside Addienys Calderon Martinez’s Honda Accord on Dec. 12, 2015.

His girlfriend, Madelyn Gonzalez Mederos, sped down 66th Street N at more than 100 mph as she tried to get away from a disgruntled ex-boyfriend who followed close behind.

"We’re being persecuted!" Calderon yelled in Spanish at the dispatcher as Gonzalez screamed. "They’re following us!"

Moments later after running a red light at Bryan Dairy Road, Gonzalez lost control of the car and slammed into a pole. She survived the wreck, but Calderon died.

Behind them was Yordan Acosta Cortina, 39, whom prosecutors described this week as a controlling ex-boyfriend who inundated Gonzalez’s phone with threatening text messages after she ended their 11-year relationship in November 2015.

Gonzalez, a 31-year-old day care worker from Cuba, testified about the days leading up to the fatal crash during Acosta Cortina’s trial. He is charged with first-degree felony murder and manslaughter.

Calderon, 25, left his hometown of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, a year earlier and had dreams of learning English and going to college.

"He came here for a better life," said his father, Alberto Calderon, on Wednesday outside the courtroom. "And instead, he lost his life."

Gonzalez remained stoic as she identified Acosta in the courtroom and flipped through cell phone records that documented their turbulent relationship.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: He chased after his ex. She crashed. Now he’s on trial for murder.

They met in Cuba when she was 18 years old. Acosta, she said, was always controlling and at times physically violent with her. He constantly asked about her whereabouts and quizzed her on acquaintances.

When they moved to Tampa a few years ago, that didn’t change. But on Nov. 27, 2015, Gonzalez had had enough, she said. With help from her mother, she moved out of their efficiency while Acosta wasn’t home. In a brief phone call later, she told him it was over.

She wanted freedom. But for the next 16 days, Gonzalez said she lived in fear as Acosta sent her about 2,000 text messages and called her more than 100 times. He also drove to Miami after Gonzalez’s mother lied to him and said her daughter had moved to South Florida.

One text read: "If you betrayed me, I will find out."

Another read: "You are creating a storm for no reason. Baby, understand that my life is tied up to yours."

On Dec. 7, 2015, Acosta showed up at Gonzalez’ workplace, Hit Promotional Products at 7150 Bryan Dairy Road in Largo. He sneaked inside the factory and found Gonzalez talking to her new boyfriend, Calderon.

She called 911, but none of the dispatchers spoke Spanish. They called the language line four times and no one picked up. They sent officers to respond, who told Acosta to leave.

But he persisted, sending another flurry of texts in the following days.

Five days later, video surveillance shows he waited for her outside Hit Promotional Products. Gonzalez said she got off work at 12:30 a.m. with Calderon. She drove his car because he was tired. They needed to fuel up, so she pulled into a nearby Circle K. But when she got out of the Honda, she saw Acosta parked next to her in a car she didn’t recognize.

Gonzalez said she panicked.

"The moment I saw him," she said, "All I wanted to do was disappear."

She sped away, but Acosta pulled in behind her. She accelerated to 100 mph, but he matched her speed. She made a U-turn and ran a red light at Bryan Dairy Road.

"I had to run it because if I didn’t, he would get out of the car and get me," Gonzalez said.

Near 100th Avenue N, she lost control and slammed into a pole.

During cross examination, defense attorney Daniel Castillo raised doubts that Gonzalez was in fear. She left Cuba without Acosta, but moved in with him when he also came to the state.

He also questioned Gonzalez about why she fled from the gas station, instead of seeking help from a station clerk. He pointed out that Acosta pulled her out of the wreckage when she crashed.

She only began saying she was afraid, Castillo said, when Gonzalez learned at the hospital that Calderon was dead.

"He didn’t die because of me," Gonzalez told him. "I’m here thanks to God. I did not choose to stay alive."

Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] Follow @lauracmorel.

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