Crime

South Florida woman dies after she hangs on van hood for 8 blocks in wild hit-and-run

The scene seemed like something out of a movie — a woman, hanging onto the hood of a van, desperately holding on for her life as the vehicle drove wildly through busy streets.

But the death of Norky Contreras Acosta, 42, was not fiction.

Contreras finally flew off the hood of the van, which then ran her over and killed her after a bizarre ride for eight blocks last week in Hialeah. On Wednesday, the driver suspected of killing Contreras surrendered to Hialeah police.

Natasha Boothe, 21, of Dania Beach, was booked into a Miami-Dade jail on Wednesday night on charges of first-degree murder and leaving the scene of an accident involving a death. Boothe is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

According to an arrest warrant obtained by the Miami Herald, the unusual death began on the night of Oct. 25 when Contreras and her family were driving a blue Volkswagen Tiguan on West 11th Avenue at 29th Street. A gold Chrysler van suddenly struck the Tiguan from behind and kept going before stopping at nearby Happy Pawn Shop, 1085 W. 29th St.

Boothe was behind the wheel of the Chrysler van, according to Hialeah police.

The Contreras family pulled into the pawn-shop parking lot to try to stop Boothe. Contreras got out, but the van suddenly reversed, pinning her to a chain-link fence, police said.

Contreras “was able to escape” and walked in front of the van “in a further attempt to prevent the driver from leaving,” the warrant said. But Boothe accelerated — and Contreras jumped atop the hood to avoid being run over, police said.

The van sped off with Contreras hanging on. The van made sharp turns, “braking violently, speeding and driving erratically from left to right at high speed in an attempt to force the victim to fall from the hood,” the warrant said.

A witness saw Contreras fly from the hood at West 12th Avenue and 35th Street — and the van ran her over, the warrant said. Her body suffered “severe trauma,” and she was pronounced dead at Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

She suffered “traumatic injuries throughout her body,” according to a warrant by Hialeah Detective Joseph Elosegui.

Detectives identified Boothe through surveillance video from the pawn shop and witnesses, one of whom got the tag number of the van.

Boothe wasn’t supposed to be driving. Miami-Dade County court records show that her license was suspended on Oct. 7 after she failed to appear in court regarding a traffic citation.

David Ovalle covers crime and courts in Miami. A native of San Diego, he graduated from the University of Southern California and joined the Herald in 2002 as a sports reporter.
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