[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 05/04/20]
CLERMONT, Florida — A 31-year-old Clermont man has been released from the Lake County Jail on $100,000 bond after turning himself in Thursday on a warrant for DUI manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter stemming from early morning Halloween 2019 crash that killed his girlfriend.
Just before 2:30 a.m. Oct. 31, 2019, a crash was reported on Hammock Ridge Road in Clermont, near Clermont Police Department. The responding officer arrived to find Jasmin Romero unconscious in a white Cadillac, and her boyfriend, Lakshman “Dave” Ram, the registered owner of the Cadillac, standing outside the vehicle. Romero was transported to South Lake Hospital, where she was pronounced dead less than one hour later.
Ram, who was reported to have alcohol emitting from his breath, was transported by ground to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he joked with hospital workers and, “seemed unable to remember the majority of the details,” and told a nurse he picked up a “random girl” to eat wings with. He then looked at a Clermont Police officer and exclaimed, “But I wasn’t driving,” the affidavit states.
The evidence told a different story. Romero’s purse and phone were found wedged under the passenger side dashboard and blood was found on the passenger knee airbag, according to the affidavit; DNA tests later proved it was Romero’s blood. The steering wheel airbag also deployed and, “there was no trace of blood on it” the affidavit states.
Warrant in hand for a blood draw, police, questioned Ram the morning of the crash, and he said he did know Romero, they were ”barely friends” and he did not know her that well, but a witness, and photos and text messages found on Romero’s phone confirmed they were in a romantic relationship for about a year. A nurse performed a blood draw and when Clermont Police received the results in December 2019, it showed his BAC was .108 and .107 approximately 6 hours after the crash. Ram also had marijuana in his system, according to the affidavit.
Police also obtained a search warrant for the Cadillac’s event data recorder (EDR.) The data showed the vehicle was traveling at 119 mph five seconds before the first recorded event; .5 seconds before the crash the vehicle was traveling at 75 mph, three times the posted speed limit. Evidence from the scene showed Ram failed to negotiate a curve, left the roadway, struck a 6 inch raised curb and went airborne over a retention pond and landed on an embankment with such force, it ripped the front axle from the vehicle.
A warrant was issued for Ram’s arrest Wednesday and he turned himself in the following day.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]