Police: Friends urged man not to drive before crash killed MMA fighter

On the night police say Dennis Michael Wright struck and killed a popular mixed martial arts fighter, he was warned by friends not to get behind the wheel of his vehicle.

“No, I can drive,” Wright allegedly responded May 1 as he left the Buddha Sky Bar in downtown Delray Beach.

A few minutes later, Delray Beach police say that Wright, traveling between 100 and 120 mph, slammed into MMA fighter Jordan Parsons, who was crossing the street at the intersection of South Federal Highway and Lindell Boulevard.

The collision severed Parson’s right leg, which was carried by Wright’s 2013 Range Rover before it fell to the pavement approximately 87 feet from where the impact took place, police said.

Parsons also sustained a pelvic fracture, several fractured ribs, lung contusions, arterial bleeding, a splenectomy and rectal tear and underwent “multiple surgeries” before he died May 4.

Wright, of Boca Raton, remains in the Palm Beach County Jail where he is being held on $450,000 bail and facing several charges including leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and-run crash.

According to state law, Wright faces a minimum four years in prison and up to 15 years behind bars if convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

Police said that Wright continued at a high rate of speed after hitting Parsons and did not stop until pulling into the parking garage of his home on Palmetto Park Road nine minutes later.

Wright, 28, took the Range Rover to an unidentified repairman to fix front-end damage incurred after he struck Parsons, but was told by the owner “to get the [expletive] out of my business” because he knew Wright had been involved in a crash, according to police.

Four days after the crash, police received a call from a witness who told them they “should look into Dennis Wright as the suspect for this case.”

With that tip, police were able to track down an unidentified witness who had been with Wright the night of the crash. The person told police he twice told Wright not to drive home from the night club in downtown Delray Beach, but that Wright got angry and insisted.

The witness was a passenger in a Mercedes that was behind Wright’s Range Rover when Parsons was struck, according to an arrest report. The Mercedes did not stop to render aid, police said, but no one other that Wright has been arrested.

“Shame on those people in the MERCEDES who saw everything happened and did not stop..,” State Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, wrote on the Facebook page of the Delray Beach Police Department. “All of Em should do jail time…”

The passenger in the Mercedes called Wright a derogatory name while speaking to police, according to an arrest report. The object of the passenger’s annoyance wasn’t that Wright struck Parsons but that he posted an Instagram message about the crash.

After Wright was denied service by the body shop mechanic, he allegedly hid the car at a storage facility on West Linton Boulevard, police said.

Police say that Parsons, 25, may have been wearing headphones and not aware of the vehicle that was barreling toward him as he crossed the street.

According to state figures, there were 92,000 hit-and-run crashes in 2015, resulting in 186 deaths. Of those 186 deaths, more than half involved pedestrians.


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