Crime

Father and sons were on a Sunday bike ride. Car driver hit them on purpose, cops say

Mikese M. Morse, 30, of Tampa, faces charges of first-degree premeditated murder and leaving the scene of a crash. Morse is being held without bond.
Mikese M. Morse, 30, of Tampa, faces charges of first-degree premeditated murder and leaving the scene of a crash. Morse is being held without bond. Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County jail

Two young boys lost their father in an intentional, fatal hit-and-run crash while the family was on a bike ride in New Tampa, according to Tampa police.

Police took one man, Mikese M. Morse, into custody around 10 p.m. Sunday, according to Spectrum Bay News 9. Jail records show the 30-year-old Tampa man faces charges of first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of leaving the scene of a crash. Morse is being held without bond.

Just before noon Sunday, a maroon Dodge Avenger was traveling east on New Tampa Boulevard near Wood Sage Drive when it crossed lanes and struck a family of three on a bicycle ride on an off-road trail, according to police.

Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan said in a Monday morning news conference a witness saw the vehicle police believe Morse was driving make a U-turn and purposefully cross a lane of traffic, go over a grass easement, hit the family and not stop. Morse later admitted to the attack, according to police.

A father and his two younger sons were struck by the Dodge Avenger and were taken to a local hospital.

The father, 42-year-old Pedro Aguerreberry, later died from his injuries, according to police. His two sons, 3- and 8-years-old, are being treated for serious and minor injuries, respectively, and are expected to recover. Dugan said Monday morning the children were in stable condition. The 3-year-old suffered a leg fracture, the 8-year-old had minor injuries.

"It was very clear that he ran these people over and knew that he ran them over," Dugan said.

It did not appear to police that Morse had any previous interaction with the family, but investigators are looking into his background for a motive.

"This is definitely random and it was purposefully done, we don't know why," Dugan said.

Dugan told ABC Action News the family was "doing everything right," including wearing helmets and staying on the paved bike path.

As deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office investigated the hit-and-run, they found a maroon Dodge Avenger in the Pebble Creek subdivision that authorities later confirmed was involved in the fatal crash, according to police.

The vehicle had plastic taped over part of the windshield in an attempt to conceal the damage from the crash, Dugan said. Morse was found at his parents' home.

Dugan said their law enforcement's contact with Morse included for minor traffic infractions and on June 12, Morse was Baker Acted after he showed up at one of their district offices.

Dugan thanked the witness who told police what they saw and the sheriff's office for their assistance in the investigation.

The investigation is ongoing.

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