Florida police arrest man in crash that killed martial arts fighter

Arrest Made in Hit-And-Run Death of MMA Fighter
Arrest Made in Hit-And-Run Death of MMA Fighter

May 8 (Reuters) - A man driving on a suspended license with a history of serious traffic offenses has been arrested in last week's hit-and-run pedestrian crash in Florida that killed mixed martial arts fighter Jordan "Pretty Boy" Parsons, police said.

Dennis Wright, 28, who investigators said was driving his mother's Range Rover at high speed when he ran down Parsons in a crosswalk, turned himself in to the Delray Beach Police Department on Saturday, six days after the collision, police said.

Parsons, 25, a featherweight-class fighter for the Viacom-owned Bellator MMA promotional company with an 11-2 career record, had his leg amputated and was reported to have lapsed into a coma before he was removed from life support on Wednesday.

The incident occurred about 12:30 a.m. last Sunday in Delray Beach, a coastal community about 50 miles (80 km) north of Miami.

Wright faces multiple charges, including leaving the scene of a fatal crash, driving on a suspended license as a habitual offender and tampering with evidence, according to a police statement on the department's Facebook page.

Police said witnesses told investigators Wright was driving between 100 and 120 miles an hour (160-193 kph) when he plowed into Parsons, who was wearing headphones and may not have heard the SUV coming.

According to police, Wright never stopped, nor did friends driving behind him in their Mercedes.

A Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge set Wright's bail at $450,000, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The newspaper quoted Wright's lawyer, Robert Resnick, as urging the public not to rush to judgment.

"There are a lot of facts that have not been established in this case," Resnick told the Post. "I just hope the community waits for all the facts."

Police said an anonymous tip led police to Wright and investigators later found his mother's Range Rover parked in a rented storage facility, missing the shattered driver's-side mirror that officers recovered from the scene of the crash.

Wright had sought to get the vehicle repaired after the collision, but the owner of a local body shop refused to do the work, authorities said.

Police said Wright had had his driver's license suspended six times and been previously arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated, disorderly intoxication, marijuana possession and assault on an officer or firefighter, among other offenses.

Witnesses had told investigators Wright was at a Delray Beach bar with friends the night of the accident, police said.