COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. – Ramon Barreto thought he was going to die. He is sore and limping the day after his taxi was struck by a Mercedes that barreled through a stop sign.
"I saw it and I said, ‘Oh Lord,’” Barreto said on Wednesday. "I thought I was dead."
The impact was so violent that the airbag in the front and the side came out.
Colonial Heights Police said that on Tuesday, at 1:08 p.m., the Mercedes ran a stop sign, lost control and slammed into the taxi.
Just before the impact police said the car passed an officer at a high rate of speed on Archer Avenue. The officer turned around to follow, and the car crashed.
Barreto, married to his wife nearly 30 years, is a retired Army Sergeant First Class who drives the taxi full time; he is his family's only source of income.
"I work every day so, so of course they have some concerns,” he said.
"It’s a miracle that he's even here, that he walked away from the accident," said his wife Martha Barreto. "He's very lucky, we're all lucky."
He said he witnessed three individuals get out of the car and start running.
Police gave chase and were able to catch Ra’Kem Lergerate Harmon, Donald Gene Gray Jr., and Dewante Deablo Ellison.
Police said they found an assault-style rifle, large amounts of marijuana and cash and that all three men were wanted in other localities.
Harmon was charged with: felony hit and run, felony distribution of marijuana more than five pounds, felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, felony possession of a firearm while in possession with intent to distribute, misdemeanor reckless driving, misdemeanor elude, and misdemeanor drive after license is suspended/revoked.
Gray was charged with felony distribution of marijuana, more than five pounds, felony possession of a firearm by a convicted, violent felon, felony possession firearm while in possession with intent to distribute, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Ellison, 24 years of age and a Petersburg resident, was transported to the hospital and has the following outstanding warrants: felony distribution of marijuana, more than 5 pounds, felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and felony possession of a firearm while in possession with intent to distribute (no photo available).