Mother wants Lakeland police held responsible for crash that killed her daughter

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Linel Vega-Ortiz was killed by a driver who was trying to get away from a Lakeland police officer. Now the victim's mother wants the police department to be held responsible for her daughter's death.

Vega-Ortiz was on her way home from work a little after midnight on June 5 when the crash happened.

“The only thing I know is that I lost my daughter,” Ortiz told FOX 13. “My heart is missing.”

Police say the sequence of events that led up to the deadly crash began when Cleon Truedell blew through a stop sign.

When an officer began to follow him, Truedell pulled into a random driveway and shut off his lights, possibly to hide.

Investigators said when the officer got closer, Truedell suddenly took off, and eventually hit speeds of more than 100 miles an hour.

It is unclear how fast the officer was traveling, but a recently released dash cam video showed his cruiser falling behind.

The video showed Truedell’s car running another stop sign and crossing the yellow line. In the distance, the crash could be seen, along with a blue flash when the car hit a power pole, causing it to explode.

Vega-Ortiz died in the crash, along with Truedell.

“I don’t understand why they don’t stop,” the victim’s mother said of the responding officer. “They could stop the process of chasing and tell their commander, OK, give me instructions or activate their helicopter and follow this person.”

Lakeland police say they doing a review of the situation, which could take several weeks to complete.