Man charged with hit-and-run and holding girlfriend against her will

Xavier Jonpaul Salinas

An Ocala man was arrested recently after he allegedly drove into a fence and away from the crash scene while keeping his girlfriend in his vehicle against her will.

Xavier Jonpaul Salinas, 23, of 918 NE 21st Ave., was charged Nov. 4 with leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage, kidnapping/false imprisonment of an adult, and grand theft of property valued at $300 to $1,000.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper responded to the crash near the intersection of NE 25th Avenue Road and NE 70th Street, where an investigation determined a vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign, traveled across NE 70th Street, and collided with a fence at 2501 NE 70th Street before fleeing eastbound on NE 70th Street. The trooper found several vehicle parts including a broken piece of a red bumper and front grill from a newer Kia car, according to the FHP report.

The trooper spoke with an eyewitness who said she was directly behind Salinas when the crash occurred. She said she was following the vehicle because her friend had called her screaming for help and saying that Salinas had her in the vehicle and was holding her against her will. The witness said she heard Salinas yell “give me the phone” and the call was disconnected, the report said.

The witness said Salinas’ vehicle came to a stop at one point and the victim tried to open the passenger door and get out of the vehicle. The witness said Salinas then accelerated, preventing the victim from leaving the vehicle, according to the report.

The victim later told the trooper she called the witness because she was in fear for her life and needed help. The victim said she was unable to retrieve her iPhone from the vehicle before Salinas fled the scene, the report said.

The witness said she wanted to help find Salinas and contacted him by phone to get his location. Salinas said multiple times he didn’t want to get the police involved and he couldn’t tell the witness where he was. He said he had the victim’s phone but wouldn’t return it that night, according to the report.

Through conversation, the witness determined Salinas might be at a friend’s apartment on SE 5th Circle. At the apartment, the friend said Salinas was sleeping and she knew why troopers were there. She allowed them to enter and they found Salinas asleep on the couch, the report said.

After being placed in handcuffs, Salinas asked if it was in reference to the fence he hit and a trooper responded yes. When asked where the vehicle was, he gave his mother’s address. The vehicle was located and had damage consistent with the crash, according to the report.

Salinas, who has been in a romantic relationship with the victim for more than six months, still had her iPhone, valued at between $749 and $899. He was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released Nov. 5 on $7,500 bond. A court date wasn’t set.