Florida Hit-and-Run Driver Steals Woman’s Car and Fatally Runs Her Over With It

Jonah Desaulniers, 23, was charged with first-degree murder and is in the Turner Guilford Knight Correction Center, aka the Dade County Jail, being held without bond after he ran over a woman while stealing her car and then was involved in a second hit-and-run crash, Miami Police officials said Friday.

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The first incident happened around 5:45 a.m. Thursday in the area of Southwest 27th Avenue and 22nd Terrace.

According to Miami Police, Desaulniers was stealing the victim’s car when he was caught in the act, and it appears that Lopez may have tried to stop Desaulniers from stealing her SUV, at which time he ran her over. The victim was later identified as 71-year-old Mercedes Lopez.

Jonah Desaulniers

Desaulniers fled the scene, intentionally running over Lopez while escaping and leaving her to die in the street. His arrest report said police arrived moments later, found her unresponsive on the roadway, and could not revive her.

Shortly after the first crash, Coral Gables Police responded to the scene of another hit-and-run crash at the intersection of Miracle Mile and Salzedo Street, where Desaulniers allegedly struck a pole and bollard. No one was injured in that incident, authorities said.

The vehicle involved in the second crash, a brown Honda SUV, matched the description of the one involved in the fatal crash. The Gables officer saw the Honda SUV with front-end damage and realized it fit the stolen vehicle that had struck and killed the woman. He followed it to Southwest 32nd Avenue and U.S. 1 and took Desaulniers into custody.

He was taken to Larkin Community Hospital and treated before being released into police custody and booked into jail.


On Friday, Jonah Desaulniers appeared in court and was denied bond by the Judge.

Desaulniers provided a statement to detectives, but the information was redacted from the publicly released report.

Miami police told Local 10 News that they reviewed surveillance video after the crash and concluded that the driver, Jonah Desaulniers, of Miami Beach, struck the victim “intentionally” and “maliciously.”

“Detectives continued to do an ongoing investigation, and it has been determined that he did, in fact, steal the victim’s car and used her car to run her over,” Miami Police spokesperson Kiara Delva said. “We want our community to know that we do not take these types of cases lightly, and we are very sad to report that someone has lost their life as a result.”

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Court records obtained by Local 10 News show that Coral Gables police issued Desaulniers a careless driving citation in 2016, a guilty plea to that same charge, one of several traffic violations he has been accused of over the years.

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