MANATEE -- The Florida Highway Patrol and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office have arrested 16-year-old Emerson Herrera of Bradenton, driver of the 2003 Ford Explorer involved in the fatal crash on Nov. 20 at 53rd Avenue West and 26th Street West.
At a court hearing Thursday afternoon, a judge ordered Emerson Herrera to be held on bonds totaling $426,500: $425,000 on two counts of vehicular manslaughter and grand theft; and an additional $1,500 after the judge revoked a bond in an unrelated pending case against Herrera.
The warrant was executed Wednesday evening by the Florida Highway Patrol and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Gang Unit.
Killed in the crash were the driver of the second vehicle, Gabriella "Gigi" Longpre, 22, of Bradenton, and her passenger, Jessica Costanzo, 23, of Venice.
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The initial FHP report said the Explorer driven by Herrera, which had been reported stolen, was northbound in the left lane on 26th Street West, approaching the red traffic signal at 53rd Avenue West early on Nov. 20.
A 2012 Volkswagen Passa driven by a 22-year-old Venice woman was westbound in the right lane on 53rd Avenue West approaching the green traffic signal at 26th Street West.
Herrera failed to stop for the red traffic signal and the front of the Ford struck the left side of the VW.
After the collision, the vehicles rotated counterclockwise and traveled in a northwesterly direction on 26th Street West. The Ford came to final rest facing southeasterly on the northwest corner on 52nd Avenue Terrace West. The VW came to rest facing easterly on the west grass shoulder of 26th Street West.
Herrera initially fled the scene in another vehicle, according to troopers, but was found later that day.
Herrera sustained serious injuries and was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital.