Christopher McConnell and Dean Amelkin, bicyclists, killed by fleeing burglar, police say

Bike ride turns to tragedy

Killed at the intersection of Palm Avenue and Sheridan Street were Christopher McConnell, 61, of Cooper City, and Dean Amelkin, 60, of Coral Springs, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Two other bicyclists who were traveling with the men as they pedaled east on Sheridan were not injured.

However, they were witnesses to a scene of explosive carnage that shut down the intersection for nearly seven hours and prompted a massive search for the driver of the Infiniti that struck them.

That driver, identified as Obrian Ricardo Oakley, 26, of Miami, bailed out of the hit-and-run vehicle after striking another car and the cyclists, and then fled into the Victoria Lakes neighborhood in Pembroke Pines.

For hours he evaded police with dogs, heavily-armed SWAT teams and a BSO helicopter flying above until he was spotted just before noon crossing Sheridan Street in the 9400 block.

A Pembroke Pines police officer took him into custody without incident, according to BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella.

Oakley faces two counts of first-degree felony murder and several other charges related to burglary, theft and failing to render aid, said Moschella.

Also arrested was Sadik Rashad Baxter, 25, of Miami Gardens, whom BSO deputies found in the Rock Creek neighborhood after a resident of Beach Way called police about 7 a.m. to report a car burglary. He faces several counts of burglary, larceny and petit theft, said police.

Each man has been arrested several times, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, on charges that include theft, burglary and illegal drug and weapons possession.

According to BSO, Oakley and Baxter decided to go on a burglary spree after spending the night gambling at the Hollywood Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. They went from car to car in the Rock Creek neighborhood, breaking into five vehicles before a resident spotted Baxter and called police.

Police arrested Baxter minutes later, according to Moschella, but Oakley sped away in the Infiniti registered to his girlfriend, Moschella said.

Roaring out of Rock Creek, Oakley headed east on Stirling Road and then south on Palm Avenue.

Moschella said there was no indication that Oakley was being pursued by police.

Running a red light at 7:17 a.m., the Infiniti was hit by a Toyota Corolla heading west on Sheridan. That sent the Infiniti into a spin, and the silver car then struck McConnell and Amelkin, said Moschella.

Two occupants of the Corolla were not serious injured.

The Infiniti ended up in the northbound lanes of Palm Avenue, south of the intersection, in Pembroke Pines.

For five hours the bodies of McConnell and Amelkin lay under yellow tarps on the pavement as police searched for the Infiniti's driver.

Nearby in the roadway were the widely-scattered evidence of the high-speed collision: a mangled bicycle, two helmets, and pieces of the battered vehicles. One of the bikes was knocked over the guardrail on the west side of Palm Avenue.

Meanwhile, the crime scene investigation and the search led to major detours around the area. Motorists were either turned around as they headed for the intersection, or directed on winding routes through residential neighborhoods or the parking lot of the CVS pharmacy at 10001 Sheridan St.

The intersection was reopened at 1:45 p.m., about two hours after Oakley was apprehended.

Moschella said the bicyclists were crossing the intersection with the light. "This is tragic, that two people were killed while enjoying a bike ride on a summer morning," she said. "And two other people decided to spend the morning committing a crime."

Most cyclists hit the road early on weekend mornings because there's so little traffic, said Alan Mandel of Davie. Mandel, who has been an officer with the South Broward Wheelers cycling club, said many people choose to ride in groups because it creates higher visibility — and safety.

"That's what's so sad about this. They were doing everything right," he said.

Stacy Sloan-Gutierrez of Pembroke Pines, who lives near the intersection, said, "It could've been anybody at that instant at that intersection. It could've been somebody's child walking across the street."

Staff writer Nick Sortal, staff photographer Joe Cavaretta and staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.


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