Driver in deadly crash: ‘I have a problem with cars’

Domonique Latrice Williams hit and killed Flora Denby Novarra in 2014

Domonique Latrice Williams, 23, entering court April 22, 2015 (KOIN)
Domonique Latrice Williams, 23, entering court April 22, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) – A 23-year-old man made a surprising admission in court Wednesday morning when he accepted full responsibility for hitting and killing a 63-year-old Tualatin woman.

Flora Denby Novarra died after her vehicle was hit by Domonique Latrice Williams, police said. The crash happened Oct. 21, 2014. Officers were called to the intersection of Southeast 80th and Ash around 4 p.m. after getting reports of a serious two-vehicle crash.

“(Williams) hit the victim so hard, he forced her across the intersection up onto the grass, up into the building,” deputy district attorney Nicole Jergovic said in court Wednesday.

Flora Novarra shown in an submitted photo from Sep. 2014.
Flora Novarra shown in an submitted photo from Sep. 2014.

Court records show Williams’ driver’s license had been suspended or uninsured since August 29, 2013. Since Nov. 2012 and May 2014, Williams has accumulated seven different citations for driving while suspended, court records show. He was ticketed for speeding twice between Nov. 2011 and January 2012, court documents state.

He was indicted by a Multnomah County grand jury in January 2015 and accused of one count of criminal negligent homicide and third-degree criminal mischief. Those charges stem from the deadly crash, police said. He was arrested on the indictment warrant Feb. 6 and then arraigned a few days later. His grandmother posted bailed on Feb. 6 and he was released from custody.

Williams was arrested March 1 after Portland Police observed him driving recklessly, court documents state. Jergovic said he failed to properly stop at a stop sign, changed lanes without signaling, and appeared to be speeding. When his vehicle finally stopped, Williams exited the vehicle and tried to walk away, court documents state. He was placed into handcuffs, Jergovic said. While in cuffs, he started running away from police, but ended up falling because he “trapped on his baggy pants,” court documents state.

On March 11, Judge Jean K. Maurer raised bail on the dead crash to $500,000, court documents state. Presiding Judge Nan G. Waller on March 9 set bail at $1,000,0000 for the March 1 incident. Williams on Wednesday requested to have his bail lowered. He told Maurer that he is a full time student.

“I think about Ms. Novarra every day and probably will for the rest of my life,” Williams said as he read from prepared remarks. “If released, I promise not to drive.”

Multnomah County Sheriff Deputy Larry Wenzel, who is assigned to Closed Street Supervision, said, despite William’s have good family support, he appears to be a risk to the community.

“I do think he’s a threat to the community,” Wenzel told Maurer. “I do think he will drive again if he gets out.”

Speaking by phone Wednesday, Navvaro’s friend, Cheryl Hinerman, said Navvaro is missed very much. She described Navvaro as a “joy of life” who loved to hike, bike and ski.

Jergovic said when Williams was detained at the crash scene that killed Novarra, he kept “talking to the police like it was the victim’s fault.”

“He just thinks: ‘Look out world, here I come. I beeped my horn, she should have stopped. It’s on her that she died,’” Jergovic said Wednesday.

Williams responded by admitting that a lot of what the prosecutor went over Wednesday was true.

“I have a problem with cars. I like cars a lot. I like to drive,” Williams said. “I’m not a bad person. I’m not another number. I’m not a career criminal. I’ve been trying to do good.”

Maurer decided not to raise the bail, instead keeping it at a total of $1,500,500. Williams will remain in custody. His defense attorney said he and his family does not have enough money to post bail.

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