Six children under 10 are orphaned after wrong-way driver fleeing Michigan cops plowed head first into parents’ car on their date night
- Jen and Ryan Ambrosio were killed instantly in the head-on collision on Jan 6
- Angel Melendez-Ortiz was driving a stolen pick-up truck on the wrong side of the freeway and trying to flee cops when he smashed into them
- The crash orphaned the Ambrosio’s six children who are between two and nine years old
Published: 18:47, 16 January 2024 | Updated: 21:07, 16 January 2024
Angel Melendez-Ortiz, 35, was driving a stolen pick-up truck on the wrong side of the Lodge Freeway in Southfield with his headlights off when he smashed into their SUV, police said.
The crash orphaned the Ambrosio’s six children, aged between two and nine, and they are now being cared for by family members.
‘They were so loved, by so many of us. Their families, friends, church, and community groups are reeling from this shocking loss,’ family stated.
Melendez-Ortiz was hospitalized along with his passenger, but has since been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, fleeing police, reckless driving and driving without a license causing death – he faces life in prison.
Jen and Ryan Ambrosio died in a crash just after 1.30am January 6 when a stolen truck slammed into their SUV on a Michigan Highway
Their SUV was hit head-on by the stolen pick-up truck, killing them instantly, police said. Angel Melendez-Ortiz, 35, has since been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, fleeing police, reckless driving and driving without a license causing death – he faces life in prison
Melendez-Ortiz was fleeing Michigan State Police officers at the time after stealing a pick up truck
The cars were left mangled, the Ambrosios were declared dead at the scene and the suspect and his passenger were taken to hospital with serious injuries
Mendelez-Ortiz, 35, was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the crash
Mendelez-Ortiz was fleeing from the police in a stolen 2006 Ford Super Duty Truck when he hit a patrol car and then sped off.
Driving at over 100mph, he entered the northbound Lodge Freeway in Southfield.
To evade pursuing officers, Melendez-Ortiz exited the freeway at Telegraph Road, turned off his headlights and made a U-turn. He got back on the northbound lanes of the Lodge traveling in the wrong direction.
Speeding with his headlights still off, he slammed headlong into the Ambrosios’ GMC Terrain near Civic Center Drive at around 1.30am.
The couple were returning home from their date night to their six children at the time and were killed instantly.
Melendez-Ortiz and his passenger, a 29-year-old woman from Detroit, were hospitalized with serious injuries.
The family were ‘beloved’ in the community. Jen was a devout Catholic, attending mass every Sunday with her entire family at the Our Lady of Sorrows church.
The couple, who celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last year, were out on a date night at the time
Melendez-Ortiz, from Romulus, has pleaded not guilty and was given a £1.5 million cash bond, he is due back in court Jan 24.
If convicted he faces life in prison.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told CBS Detroit: ‘These are senseless deaths, and I have authorized the highest possible charges for this crime.
‘We will pursue justice for these victims and their entire family, including their young children, and we will hold this defendant accountable.’
It is rare for a driver to be charged with murder after a fatal crash, but the prosecutor’s office said the case shows ‘elements of intentionality on the part of the defendant’ because he turned off the headlights of the vehicle and was driving on wrong way.
The six children are being cared for by their extended family
The family were devout Catholics and attended Mass every Sunday at Our Lady of Sorrows church
As of Tuesday, it had raised over £614,000.
Burke wrote: ‘In the early morning hours of January 6, 2024, Ryan and Jen Ambrosio were on their way home from a date night when their lives were cut short in a fatal car wreck.
‘The greatest impact of this tragedy is (and will continue to be) on their six young children: Amelia, Maria Grace, Faustina, Benedict, Raphael, and Julian.
‘Ranging in age from 2-9 years old, they now have to navigate life’s ups and downs without their parents by their side.’
Burke said the children will be kept together in a family member’s home.
She said: ‘The Ambrosio children, while now without their parents, have always had the presence and support of a large extended family that will ensure they are raised together in a safe and loving home.’
Jen was a devout Catholic, attending mass every Sunday with her entire family at the Our Lady of Sorrows church.
Her cousin, Jon Jimenez, wrote: ‘Jen was a big sister to me and here for every milestone of my life, both big and small.
‘Our family thanks you for the love and support we’ve received thus far.
Love the people around you today because tomorrow is never promised.’