A Tulsa man received a deferred sentence after pleading no contest to two charges related to a hit-and-run that killed a 5-year-old boy who was a passenger on an electric scooter.
Renier Davison, 25, pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count each of leaving the scene of a fatal collision and causing an accident while driving without a valid license in the April 23 death of Caiden Reyes-Ortiz on Riverside Drive just north of 31st Street in the Gathering Place.
Caiden’s mother, Evelyn Ortiz-Luevano, was charged with child neglect and negligent homicide in his death but has not been arrested. Police have said she fled the country after learning that criminal charges had been filed against her.
Tulsa County District Judge Dawn Moody withheld making a finding of guilt in Davison’s case Tuesday and ordered him to serve a five-year deferred sentence under the supervision of the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office. The plea Davison entered does not concede guilt but acknowledges that a judge or jury could conclude that his actions on the night of the crash were criminal if they heard evidence and testimony.
A probable cause affidavit indicates that Ortiz-Luevano was riding a Lime rental scooter south in the northbound lanes of Riverside Drive, with her son riding with her. Police reported that she swerved left to avoid hitting an oncoming vehicle and that the force from the maneuver threw Caiden off the scooter and onto the pavement.
Lime’s rules and regulations indicate that its scooters should have only one rider at a time.
Davison, according to court documents, swerved left to avoid hitting the scooter but struck Caiden and subsequently left the crash site.
“(Davison) made two bad decisions that day. He drove without a license, and then, once the accident happened, he fled,” Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray said after court Tuesday. “Those are crimes, and he needed to be held accountable for them.
“But the reality is he didn’t put the kid on the scooter. … He didn’t go the wrong way down Riverside. He didn’t go to oncoming traffic. There were a lot of things that he didn’t do that the evidence indicates someone else did.”
Defense attorney Chuck Richardson said he was pleased with the resolution of Davison’s case, telling the Tulsa World that the state’s handling of the matter properly took into account the safety risks Ortiz-Luevano’s use of the scooter presented.
He noted that Davison swerved to avoid colliding with the scooter and said the manner in which Ortiz-Luevano was riding it made it likely that another motorist would strike her and her son. He added that there was no indication that Davison was under the influence at the time.
“And now we have a young man who has to carry a weight on his shoulders he shouldn’t have to carry,” Richardson said of Davison and the circumstances surrounding Caiden’s death.
The charges against Ortiz-Luevano, who is believed still to be in Mexico, allege that Caiden died as a result of the injuries he received while she operated the scooter “in reckless disregard” for the safety of others. Motorized scooters are included in Oklahoma law defining what can be classified as a motor vehicle.
Moody told Davison in court that he could face up to 10 years in prison if he violates the conditions of his probation. If he meets his financial obligations and doesn’t get charged with any new crimes, the case could be expunged from his record in September 2024.
Ortiz-Luevano could face up to life in prison on the child neglect charge if she is convicted. Negligent homicide in Oklahoma is a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to one year in jail.
Gray said Davison should not have been driving on April 23 because his license was suspended but said, “At the end of the day, what happened was an accident.” He said Ortiz-Luevano will be prosecuted upon her re-entry to the United States if she attempts to do so.
“In this situation, (Ortiz-Luevano) used abysmal judgment, and it resulted in her child being killed,” Gray said. “In this particular situation, I think it’s going to be more appropriate for us to push forward with prosecution on her and put Mr. Davison on probation and give him an opportunity to get on with his life.”
The Tulsa City Council has since proposed changes to the city’s electric scooter ordinance that would set the minimum age for users at 16 unless younger riders have a valid motorcycle license. Lime’s own scooter rules and regulations limit their use to riders who are at least 18.
Tulsa’s proposed ordinance changes would also define districts within which rented scooter and bicycle users are prohibited from riding them on sidewalks.
Tulsa Police Sgt. Jennifer Murphy talks about the Tulsa Police new reading program and school supply handout at the Darlington Apartments.