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'I was scared to go to jail': Robert Matagi tells police after fatal crash near West Morgan

Posted at 5:27 PM, Apr 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-15 18:27:21-04

MILWAUKEE — Robert M. Matagi, who reportedly led police on a high-speed chase before crashing into a vehicle April 11, was charged Monday with second-degree reckless homicide and vehicle operator flee/elude officer resulting in the death of another, the Milwaukee Police Department said in a news release.

A Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office deputy was attempting to conduct a traffic stop, police said, when Matagi allegedly led the deputy on a high-speed chase.

“I had a gun and some marijuana in the car with no license and I was scared to go to jail and be stranded in Milwaukee so I sped up,” Matagi reportedly told a detective, according to the criminal complaint.

Matagi reportedly crashed into a vehicle driven by Pedro L. Colon-Ortiz near the 1300 block of West Morgan Avenue, and Colon-Ortiz died.

Matagi allegedly ran from the scene but was arrested a short time afterward.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales sent his condolences to Colon-Ortiz’s family and issued a strong message to reckless drivers.

“To Mr. Colon-Ortiz’s family and friends, we are praying for you during this difficult time. To the individuals who choose to drive recklessly and flee from law enforcement, fleeing is a felony. Not only do you place your life in danger, you place the lives of others at risk. If someone dies as a result of your reckless actions, we will work with our intergovernmental partners to ensure that you are charged to the highest extent of the law,” Morales said in the news release.