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Orange Park tow truck driver killed in crash ‘was the most beautiful person,’ mother says

Parents demand answers in Carlos Betancourt’s death

Parents of crash victim frustrated with case
Parents of crash victim frustrated with case

Videos of Carlos Betancourt singing, his infectious laugh and saying “I love you” are now memories his parents have of the beloved owner of Zoom Zoom Towing.

“I miss everything,” said Mariam Betancourt, his mother. “My son was the most beautiful person. He was kind. He loved everybody.”

On May 30, the lives of Carlos Betancourt’s parents changed forever. The Florida Highway Patrol said Carlos Betancourt, 30, of Orange Park, stopped near where I-295 meets Blanding Boulevard to help Tori Crooms, whose car broke down as he was heading home from his 19th birthday party.

Troopers said Carlos Betancourt and Crooms were standing near the tow truck parked on the left shoulder, partially blocking the left travel lane, when they were fatally struck by a sport utility vehicle driven by a 23-year-old woman.

“After a few hours, cops called my son and said she’s not under custody anymore because we don’t have any criminal reason to have her under custody,” Mariam Betancourt said.

Carlos Betancourt’s parents said they want answers for why the driver is not charged.

“Everything is quiet,” said Luis Betancourt, his father.

Carlos Betancourt’s family knows him as a fighter who beat cancer twice.

“I’ll always remember my son like a bright light, like a love song,” Mariam Betancourt said. “And he always was happy.”

His parents said now it’s their turn to fight for answers for their son.

Since the driver of the SUV has not been charged, her name has not been released. When News4Jax asked last week where she was prior to the crash and why charges haven’t been filed, FHP said the case is still under investigation. News4Jax reached out to FHP again on Tuesday but had not heard back as of publication.

According to News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, even though the driver is not currently charged, it does not mean the driver will not be charged in the future. Jefferson said these investigations take time.

News4Jax has also been in contact with Crooms’ family, who is also hoping for more answers.

Carlos Betancourt’s family said they also want to make sure people are mindful of Florida’s “move over” law, which requires drivers to change lanes when passing emergency vehicles.


About the Author:

Reports weeknights for The Ten O'Clock News and News4Jax at 11.