MIAMI, Florida – In a separate case on Tuesday, a man who police say was driving the car of a dead Lyft driver in South Florida was charged with murder and other crimes.
According to court records, a grand jury in Hardee County charged Matthew Flores, 35, with first-degree murder, grand theft auto, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and tampering with evidence.
The indictment is about the shooting death of 43-year-old Jose Carlos Martinez in Wauchula on January 24. When Lyft driver Gary Levin, 74, went missing after dropping off a customer in Okeechobee, a small city north of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and about 70 miles (110 kilometers) east of Wauchula, police were actively looking for Flores.
After Levin went missing, his red 2022 Kia Stinger was seen in Miami, Okeechobee, and Gainesville, all in north Florida. The car was stopped on February 2 in North Carolina, where a U.S. Marshals regional task force had asked authorities to be on the lookout.
Officials say that Flores was caught after a police chase through three counties. He was driving the car. After Levin went missing, a dead body was found in Okeechobee and turned out to be the driver.
Flores was being held in North Carolina on a $2 million bond, and a hearing was set for Wednesday. He will be sent back to Florida in the end. No one knew if Flores had a lawyer who could speak for him.