A combination of investigative policing, detailed reporting and images from the scene published within three hours of the crash, and the conscience of a business owner, led Florida Highway Patrol investigators within 36 hours to the accused hit-and-run driver in Monday morning’s fatal crash.
The crash killed Ray Almodovar, a 68-year-old school bus driver in the district since 2013. He’d been on his way to work.
When Florida Highway Patrol Traffic Homicide Investigators Pete Young and Ralph Richards walked up to the house on Sunnyshore Drive in Ormond by the Sea late Tuesday afternoon, Bryan Brown, 60, walked out of the house to meet the troopers and owned up to being at the wheel of the Jeep involved in the hit-and-run.
“He said he was the driver,” Young said.
Brown was driving on a suspended license because of a drunk-driving conviction, Young said. The Jeep was not his car, but his wife’s.
At 5:45 a.m. Monday Brown was driving his gray Jeep Wrangler north on I-95, just south of the State Road 100 intersection in Palm Coast. Almodovar was just ahead of him. For unknown reasons Almodovar lost control of his Toyota Corolla, struck the center-median guardrail, bounced back into traffic, was sideswiped by another car, then t-boned by Brown’s Jeep, according to the FHP investigation.
Two witnesses saw Brown roll his Jeep to a controlled stop, step out of his car, check the front end for damages, then speed off, ignoring Almodovar, who was pronounced dead at the scene shortly afterward.
“I didn’t know what I was doing, I got hit with an air bag and was out of it for a while,” Brown at first told Young and Richards, seeming contrite and regretful. But when the troopers asked him for a driver’s license, he could not produce it, and owned up to driving on a suspended license.
Brown immediately after the crash exited at State Road 100 and drove down to his home in Ormond By the Sea, dissimulating his Jeep on his property behind a fence, so it couldn’t be seen from the road.
But within hours of the crash news of the hit-and-run was circulating, including Young’s own summary-description of the likely vehicle involved, its color and make and the significant damage it was certain to show on its front end. The next sequence of events is not precisely clear, but it involves Brown’s wife and Brown’s boss, the owner of a plumbing company in the Jacksonville area. Brown’s wife was angered by the discovery that her husband had apparently deceived her about his driving privileges: he had told her that he had a work permit to drive to and from work. He did not have such a permit. According to Young, she appears to have contacted Brown’s boss and informed him of the vehicle crash.
The plumbing-company owner put two and two together: “He heard on the news that we were looking for him, so he called the sheriff’s office,” Young said. The company owner called Flagler County’s 911 dispatch center—which Young wanted to credit particularly. A dispatcher emailed Young the information relayed about Brown. Included in the email were pictures of the wanted vehicle, which had apparently been taken by Brown’s wife.
That was between 3 and 4 p.m. Tuesday. Later that afternoon, Young and Richards drove down to Brown’s house. Brown met them outside because he’d seen them coming: there are surveillance cameras all around his house. “I know why you’re here,” Brown is said to have told the troopers. Brown said he was willing to turn himself in—though he had not, of course, taken that step until the troopers showed up in person. “He was cooperative,” Young said. But only up to a point: he also secured a lawyer, and declined to speak further, as is his right.
The investigators secured a warrant signed by Circuit Judge Sandra Upchurch and seized the Jeep, which John’s Towing, the Bunnell tower, towed to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s office in Jacksonville for processing.
Charges are pending against Brown, though he was not arrested so as not to start the clock on his potential case and give investigators the weeks, at times the months, they need to complete their case. But the potential charges he faces are driving on a suspended license with the involvement of a death, a third-degree felony, and leaving the scene of crash with a death, a first-degree felony carrying a minimum-mandatory prison sentence of four years.
“We got the information out there quickly and we got the public to respond,” Young said of the investigation. “All in all a quick response from the public and a quick response from us were able to bring closure to the family.” He added: “It pays off, we follow up on all leads.”
David S. says
I really hope you go to jail and serve some time you deserve it.
Now the lying begins and the police will have to work hard to get the truth out, not just Mr. Brown as the liar but his legal counsel also! Just sayin!!
Fernando Melendez says
What a shame, looks like a nice guy but bad decision, my condolences to the Almodovar family may he RIP
Great work by law enforcement and the community. I also want to say my condolences to the family. May he Rest In Peace!
Brown would have been better off just staying there, his only crime would have been driving with a suspended license as he did not cause the accident. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Almodovar lost control of his car and was hit by another car causing Almodovar to come back in front of Browns jeep. But no this creep decides to run. The judge needs to really handle this as an example to those that leave the seen of an accident.
He will probably get more time then the Flagler crack dealers get.
Just the truth says
The truth always comes out.
He says he left because he had a suspended license. How do we know that he wasn’t intoxicated at this time? We’re taking his word on that. I am however glad that he’s been found! I just wish they’d arrested him right then and there!! Who’s to say he’s not going to get behind the wheel again and possibly be drunk .
To Mr.Rays family, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. Mr. Ray was a great man and will be missed by all!! May you R.I.P. Mr. Ray🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️
Vicki and Brian Nixon says
Well in this situation he should get the maximum even though it wasn’t stated other than the minimum is 4 years. Sure sounds like you only risk a small slap on the hand for killing someone while driving drunk on a suspended drivers license versus the pervert who molested two small young children who faces up to 30 years for each child offense.
Jail time for sure !
I’m really concerned what if he runs then what? I don’t care if he’s nice or not, four years! He killed a man and checked his vehicle, he could of stayed with this poor man. I don’t feel sorry for this man he knew exactly what happened, says he was out of it because the air bag went of I call lies all lies! I pray for this family.
James Miles says
Now everyone gets to throw in their two cents. Gotta luv the world wide web, where everyone gets to contribute their negativity. The big ol’ www. has taken the place of punching bags and squeeze balls.
Josh Davis says
Sad, sad situation. No winners here. Huge congrats to Trooper Young and Dispatch for a thorough investigation that ultimately led to the apprehension of the driver. Also to the man’s wife and boss for doing the right thing. Leaving the scene of a crash is always the wrong thing to do. Hopefully this tragic situation will lead to others learning from this man’s mistakes. May God be with the families of this awful incident.
Well look this guy made a very bad decision and left the scene of the accident. but that poor man RIP. was killed I guess almost instantaneously and he panicked and left not saying it was rite it was not but there was no way that he caused the crash. You guys are already to hang him yes he needs to be prosecuted and he will have to live with killing that poor man. But remember it was not intentional,but he should have stayed there it sure would have been much better for him.
Please remember that Mr. Ray Almodovar and his family are the actual victims of the criminal act of selfishness and cowardice acted upon them by Mr. Bryan Brown.
…….. “What a shame, looks like a nice guy but bad decision”?
WTF…..I am so sick and tired of this Horseshit Circle Logic applied to act as some sort of justification for a deadly, (in this case) criminal behavior.
Bryan Brown is a 60 year old grown man and is responsible for making the “Right” decisions.
100% this guy is responsible for this death. He had a suspended license and therefore should not have been driving. Had he NOT been driving, this man would still be alive. So, driving with a suspended license, fleeing the scene of an accident with injury (death in this case) and tampering with evidence. Hope they lock this man up for a long time. Kudos to his wife for doing the right thing and turning his pathetic arse in!
If that is a motorcycle parked beside the right front corner of his house, some poor victim will probably encounter him on the road again…..too bad it can’t be seized by FHP also.
Any decent human being would be disgusted by the actions of Mr. Brown
following the accident. The man (Brown) got out of the vehicle, inspected his
Jeep then drives away to go and hide his damaged vehicle.
(which was going to stick out like a sore thumb) He never gave the decedent
a moment of consideration.
Any decent person (the moral minimum) would firstly check on the driver of the
vehicle he struck, but not this guy. This fellow just wanted to escape the scene
knowing that he was going to be in trouble without regard for Mr. Almodovar’s
life which was over or ebbing away as he assessed the damage to his own Jeep.
Is that callous or what?
So Brown’s license was suspended due to a DUI–I wonder how many times he
was drunk on the road before he was finally busted.
I’m glad they dropped a dime on him. Now he’s cooperative.
After the cops came calling–of course.
Let’s see how this unfolds over time. I’ll be watching as will many others.
I hope Brown reaps what he’s sown, and Mr. Almodovar’s family gets justice
and a measure of closure.
My sympathies to Ray’s family and friends.
Dean Carpenter says
The way the Sheriff works with the community to get help is great. We actually do have shared values based on a common good and his expectation that his employees meet basic standards builds trust and confidence to work together.
Trailer Bob says
But the fact that one man would probably not be dead if the jeep driver had not been on the road, as should have been the case, is the main issue here. So…it took the DUI driver to cause the death…period!
he was likely drunk, thats why he ran..30 years sounds right to me!!
I agree, he should not have left the scene of the accident. But, if you guys read the report it says the driver struck the gaurd rail and veered onto on coming traffic. Anyone could have hit this driver. It just so happened to be Mr. Brown. I’ve meet this man before. He is a very nice man. Just at the wrong place and wrong time. My condolences to their family. There is no coming back from death. And just because mr. Brown has had DUI’S in the past. It was simply just him being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Doesnt give you guys the right to just say he was drunk. Like i said, anyone could have hit him. But yes, he should have called for help. Instead of leaving like that.
Another idiot whom just added on charges to an already stellar wrap sheet insult to injury moron
Reading these comments make me wonder how many people actually read the article. It clearly states that the victim left the road, struck the guard rail, veered back onto the highway where he was struck by a Kia and then struck by Mr. Brown’s Jeep. There is no proof that he killed Mr. Almodovar, or the driver of the other car did, or the victim may have died on impact with the guard rail. That has yet to be proven and we may never know. Mr. Brown should not have left the scene, but he likely panicked because of his suspended license and fled. He had no way to know that Mr. Almodovar was or would be deceased. This is why everyone has a right to a fair trial and we should not judge anyone until the evidence has been presented.
He did not cause the accident and yes it is a bad charge I’m sure he knew the guy was dead by the time he hit him