MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee man is charged months after a fatal hit-and-run. 23-year-old Demondre Ford has been criminally charged in connection with a crash that killed Hector Hernandez on Milwaukee's south side last November.
Ford was charged after prosecutors say his DNA was found on the airbag of the car that slammed into Hernandez.
He is facing the following charges:
- Second degree reckless homicide
- Hit and run - result in death
- Knowingly operating motor vehicle while suspended - cause death
Hernandez, 36, was driving through the intersection of Becher and Muskego on Wednesday evening, Nov. 1 when his SUV was struck by a car that was traveling at a high rate of speed. Hernandez's SUV then hit a pole and burst into flames. Hernandez was removed from the burning vehicle by bystanders and taken to a hospital where he later died.
"This isn't something that we're just going to forget about," said Rebecca Daniels, friend.
There is not a day that goes by, loved ones don't think about 36-year-old Hernandez.
"We really need the justice to come to light," Daniels said.
According to the criminal complaint, Ford was the driver of the striking vehicle -- a Pontiac G6. The complaint indicates about two minutes prior to the wreck, a Milwaukee police officer "made a U-turn so as to follow the Pontiac." The car sped up -- and a few moments later, the officer stopped his pursuit due to the conditions and high rate of speed. It was a short time later the officer "heard a broadcast about a traffic collision at Becher and Muskego."
Witnesses at the scene described the man in the striking car as a "black male with shoulder length dread locks." They told police that driver fled the scene on foot.
Officers determined the Pontiac was purchased by a business on S. 92nd St. The receipt for the vehicle identified Demondre Ford as being the representative from the business that purchased the Pontiac at auction. Officials called the owner of that business on the morning of Nov. 2. The owner told authorities that "Ford told him that he bought a vehicle last Friday (10/27/2018) and that vehicle was stolen from him. Ford told him that the vehicle was stolen on Wednesday morning, at about 3 a.m., while he was at home. Ford told him that the car was left running and he ran back inside to get his phone charger and when he came back, the car had been stolen and his phone was still in the car. Ford told him that he received a phone call and the caller told him that the car was in the news because it was involved in an accident and someone died." Ford told the owner that he had not reported the vehicle stolen to police.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, Ford turned himself into police regarding the Becher and Muskego crash. He was accompanied by an attorney. Swabs for DNA were taken from Ford at that time. That DNA was compared to samples recovered from the steering wheel on the striking car, the gear shifter and a compact disc that had been in the car's stereo. That evidence was sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory -- and eventually helped investigators link Ford to the vehicle.
Officials also recovered a module from the striking vehicle which indicated the Pontiac was traveling at 93 miles an hour just two seconds prior to the collision.
"We understand that people make mistakes, but not going 92 an hour through a stoplight, leaving a man to burn to death," said Daniels. "He needs to serve time."
Online court records indicate Ford pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in court on Friday, Feb. 23. His trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 14.