Car seized in fatal Kissimmee hit-and-run crash

A green mirror found near Rafael Cotto’s shattered body early Sunday on Orange Blossom Trail in Kissimmee fit exactly on a damaged car seized today, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Towed to FHP headquarters in Orlando, the green Kia Spectra’s windshield had been crushed by striking a large object that sheared off the missing exterior mirror on the passenger door.

Traffic homicide investigators took the mirror with them after receiving a tip that the damaged car found near the death scene might be the one that struck Cotton.

“It matches,” said FHP spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes.

Cotton, 65, was found about 7:50 a.m. Sunday near the corner of OBT and Carroll Street. He had been on one of his daily walks on grass bordering the roadway when he was struck from behind. He died shortly after paramedics arrived, Montes said.

“In the majority of crashes it’s the pedestrians’ fault but this is not the case,” Montes said. “He was well off the roadway.”

Several other tips about cars possibly involved in Cotto’s death were ruled out Sunday. The green Kia was found at a Kissimmee apartment complex after an anonymous tip was called into local law enforcement.

Its owner, an unidentified woman in her 20′s, spoke to FHP investigators and gave them permission to take the car to examine for evidence in Cotto’s death, said Montes. What she said was not disclosed.

“The owner is the only person of interest at this time is cooperating with investigators,” Montes wrote in a crash report. “This crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.”

hcurtis@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5257.