FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A man was being detained in New York for the death of a woman who was dragged for several miles under a minivan after trying to stop the driver from fleeing a collision, officials said Monday.
Abdelaziz Bilal Hamze, 24, was detained on Delta flight 132 bound for Athens, Greece, Broward County Sheriff's spokesman Elliot Cohen said. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained him while the plane was pulling away from the gate at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, Cohen said.
Broward sheriff's deputies were en route to New York to interview Hamze, who is a U.S. citizen born in Lebanon, Cohen said. He will be charged with first degree murder, Cohen said.
"This was a brutal, senseless road-rage killing," said Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne told Local10.com. "Hamze's complete disregard for human life should outrage anyone in this community. His capture will ensure that he will pay for his brutality."
Hamze has been accused in the dragging death of 44-year-old Sandra Hall, of Fort Lauderdale. She was in a Cadillac struck by the minivan Sunday night, Broward County sheriff's officials said.
Hamze was identified after a man called authorities and told investigators he had been contacted by Hamze. The caller said that several months ago he sold Hamze the 1999 Dodge minivan involved in Hall's death, and that Hamze had contacted him after the killing.
Details of the conversation between the men were not released.
Witnesses also identified Hamze from a photo lineup. It was not immediately known if Hamze had an attorney.
Local10.com reported that the accident occurred around 10 p.m. Sunday as Hall returned home from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., with her fiance Michael Williams.
The minivan fled the crash scene, with the Cadillac in pursuit, authorities said. Hall stood in front of the minivan when both vehicles were stopped in traffic.
The station reported that when the minivan inched forward, Hall "jumped on the hood and I ran after the truck," Williams said.
"I tried to snatch her off the hood, but she said she's not letting him go nowhere," Williams told Local10.com.
The minivan's driver sped off after hitting Hall and tossing her onto the hood, authorities said. As the vehicle continued driving, Hall fell off the hood and became lodged underneath the minivan, officials said.
Hall was dragged for several miles before she fell from the undercarriage, authorities said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cohen said witnesses should come forward.
"They need to solve it before I solve it," Williams said.
Nicole Hall, Hall's daughter-in-law, said she was a mother to the whole family. Nicole Hall's mother, Theresa Campbell, said Sandra Hall loved to cook and would feed homeless people in the neighborhood.
"She will be missed. Even to the homeless," Campbell said. "It always happens to the good ones."