Raymond Cruz is a 44-year-old resident of Providence, R.I., with a history of domestic abuse. Past midnight on Saturday, he and his 29-year-old girlfriend were driving through Flagler County on I-95. The couple had been living together for seven months. They’d been in Miami, and were on their way back to New England.
She had been at the wheel. When Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies found them in the parking lot of McDonald’s off the I-95 exit at State Road 100, she was bleeding from the mouth, her shirt soaked in blood, with wounds “consistent with extreme pressure, as that of a punch,” Cruz’s arrest report states. She had cuts and abrasions on the lip and in her mouth and complained of a damaged jaw. She told deputies that while she was driving, he’d struck her with a closed fist.
Deputies found blood on the steering wheel, the driver’s door and the lower door jamb of the driver’s door, confirming that she had been driving. Cruz said otherwise: he said that he was driving, and that she had attacked him. He showed deputies scratches on his neck, and said his blows against the woman were defensive–that he was driving and throwing “wild punches.” There was no blood on him.
They’d pulled over to McDonald’s to rest, he told deputies. The woman was fearful of calling 911. But she managed to text family. Family members contacted law enforcement, and sheriff’s deputies used the woman’s cell phone to locate her.
Cruz had previously been convicted for battery in New York, making his alleged assault on the woman Saturday an automatic felony charge. He’d been convicted in new York of felony strangulation in 2013 and two misdemeanor charges of assault in the third degree. Sheriff’s deputies reported that he also has pending charges in Rhode Island. Deputies could not document the charges. He was booked at the Flagler County jail. The woman drove herself to nearby AdventHealth Palm Coast for medical attention to her lip and jaw.
Bond was set at $15,000. Cruz, of 134 Pocassat Avenue in Providence, was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim. He remains at the county jail Monday evening.