It has been nine months since 17-year-old Lillia Morris was killed when troopers said an SUV ran a red light and slammed into her car. Now an arrest has finally been made in the case and the Florida Highway Patrol explained what led to the 2018 crash in Trinity:
Driver Roy Wiley Rimmer, 55, was impaired by methamphetamines when troopers said he ran a red light and crashed into the driver's side of the teen's car at State Road 54 and Duck Slough Boulevard in afternoon traffic.
Rimmer was arrested Friday on charges of vehicular homicide, DUI accident involving death and DUI accident with property damage.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: FHP identifies driver in crash that killed "smiling" teen
Why did an arrest take so long? Highway Patrol Sgt. Steven Gaskins said they had to wait for toxicology results to come back to find out what kind of drugs were in the driver's system, and that closing the case depended on the workload of the trooper who investigated the crash.
The incident took place in April at about 2:30 p.m. Morris was driving north on Duck Slough Boulevard in a 2009 Honda coupe, troopers said. She had the green light to cross SR 54.
But then a 2008 Chevrolet SUV, headed east on SR 54, drove through the red light and slammed into the driver's side of the Honda. The Highway Patrol identified three people inside the SUV: the driver, Rimmer, of Tampa; Brandon Casey Windom, 27, also of Tampa; and Jason Richard Tout, 34, of Hudson.
Rimmer was injured in the crash. He was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point for medical treatment. But troopers also made sure that the hospital took a sample of Rimmer's blood for testing, to determine if he was impaired when he was driving. The latest Highway Patrol report on the crash said alcohol was not a factor.
Windom ran from the crash scene, troopers said, but was quickly located and arrested in Tampa on felony charges of tampering with or fabricating evidence and possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor charges of resisting an officer without violence and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to jail records. But Windom did not contribute to the crash, troopers said.
Morris, who attended Mitchell High School, was remembered for her kindness and her desire to become a pediatric nurse. Her family could not be reached for comment Friday.
The Highway Patrol did not say what Rimmer has been doing since the crash or where he was found. He was booked into the Pasco County jail, where he was being held in lieu of $100,500 bail.
Contact Jamal Thalji at firstname.lastname@example.org.