BRADENTON — A woman whose husband is charged with killing her ex-lover in a traffic crash spoke out for the first time Friday.
Blair Hohmeister, 27, was arrested Thursday evening on charges of vehicular homicide and six counts of reckless driving, according to Bradenton Police Department reports. He was released from jail Friday after posting $10,500 bond.
Police said Hohmeister caught his wife, 24-year-old Nichole Hohmeister, having sex with Dr. Jason Evangelista, 35, in a Dodge Ram pickup truck at about 11:15 p.m. May 5 in the parking lot behind City Hall, 100 Old Main St.
Nichole Hohmeister recalled the crash during an interview at the law office of her attorney David Becker. During the interview, Becker advised Hohmeister not to discuss events leading up to the incident or her relationship with Evangelista.
Hohmeister and Evangelista, an ophthalmologist, both worked at The Eye Depot, 426 Manatee Ave. W.
“(Evangelista) just takes off, and I asked him to stop, and just to let me out. He keeps driving, speeding — driving erratically. I asked him to stop a few more times,” said Hohmeister with a trembling voice.
Driving a Honda Accord, Blair Hohmeister followed Evangelista in a chase that reached speeds of up to estimated 100 mph along Manatee Avenue West, 26th Street West and 17th Avenue West, according to police. Reports state Hohmeister ran Evangelista’s truck off the road several times throughout the chase.
“Once we got down Manatee Avenue, it was clear (Evangelista) wasn’t going to stop. I asked him to slow down. He wouldn’t slow down, ” she said.
Hohmeister said she was screaming and crying as the truck reached higher speeds traveling down neighborhood streets.
“Once we got down 17th, he just floored it. We hit what felt like a bump in the road or small hill. It felt like we went airborne a little bit. I just remember the car rolling. When it came to a stop I was trapped in the car door with my leg.”
Hohmeister said she had to have surgery on her left knee. It’s unclear whether she will have a full recovery, she said doctors told her.
Evangelista was killed in the crash.
During the crash, both vehicles veered off, crashing separately, according to reports. Blair Hohmeister lost control of the Honda just before the intersection at 17th Avenue West and 43rd Street West and rolled the vehicle several times.
Evangelista’s pickup continued through the intersection until it struck a cement drain culvert and rolled and flipped several times, according to the report.
Evangelista suffered a “catastrophic” head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the report.
Since the crash, Hohmeister and her husband remain together with their 4 year-old daughter.
“He’s taken such good care of me since this happened. He cares so much. I love him,” she said. “I don’t know what I would do if he wasn’t helping me.”
She said she believes her husband should not be facing any charges.
“If you saw the way, (Evangelista) was driving — if you had seen a loved one in the car with him, you would be afraid for their safety. He was leading what was going on,” she said.
During a first court appearance Friday, Judge Doug Henderson found probable cause for the charges against Blair Hohmeister but said, “There’s going to be some issues here.”
Mark Lipinski, who is representing Blair Hohmeister said, “Based upon my office’s review of the known facts, it’s appears to me that the Bradenton Police Department has arrested my client on a willfully inadequate investigation.”
Lipinski said in court his client was following Evangelista’s truck, and was even physically dragged at one point, because he thought his wife was the victim of a sexual assault.
A police investigator defended the filing of charges against Hohmeister.
“It’s understandable and I don’t think you can deny the emotion that took place at the onset of this incident,” said traffic homicide investigator Sean O’Leary. “However, that has its limits. There came a point in this incident when things went too far.”
Police continue to investigate the crash and conduct interviews with witnesses and plan to reconstruct the crash scene. The autopsy report on Evangelista from the Medical Examiner’s Office is not completed.
Any witnesses or anyone with information about the crash can contact Bradenton Police at (941) 932-9353.