Contact: David Chapman
Phone: (904) 255-3004
Cell: (904) 524-6626

April 25, 2024


State Attorney Melissa Nelson announces that the Honorable Jeb Branham sentenced Edwin Rumaldo Almendares-Amaya to 20 years in Florida State Prison for Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death. Amaya previously pleaded guilty on March 13, 2024, for the crash where he killed 28-year-old Lester Noel ”Nico” Bagalihog.

On May 25, 2023, Almendares-Amaya was driving a black Chevrolet Tahoe down Beach Boulevard near Tamaya Boulevard. Bagalihog and his friend were driving their motorcycles in front of Almendares-Amaya. While they slowed down for a red light, Almendares-Amaya ran over Bagalihog with his larger SUV. Almendares-Amaya drove over Bagalihog, hit the other motorcyclist, and continued driving through a red light leaving Bagalihog severely injured. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue took Bagalihog to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. Video of the hit-and-run was captured by a nearby Tesla dash camera. A crime tip submitted the next day led Florida Highway Patrol to the Tahoe, as well as Almendares-Amaya. The Tahoe had damage consistent with the crash.

During the investigation, officers discovered Almendares-Amaya is illegally in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a detainer on Amaya for likely deportation to Honduras after serving his sentence.

The case was investigated by Florida Highway Patrol and was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney John Kalinowski.

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