TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — The man believed to have caused a deadly crash in Taunton earlier this week is now facing a slew of drug charges.
Hector Bannister-Sanchez, 34, of Medford, was arrested Monday after crashing his SUV into 54-year-old Lori Ann Medeiros’ car on Kingman Road. Medeiros was rushed to Morton Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
The crash happened soon after Massachusetts State Police troopers began surveilling Bannister-Sanchez as part of an ongoing drug trafficking investigation.
Police said the troopers followed Bannister-Sanchez as he picked up narcotics from a “stash house” and delivered them to the home of a suspected customer in Middleboro.
When Bannister-Sanchez pulled into the driveway of the East Main Street home, the troopers attempted to approach his vehicle.
Bannister-Sanchez pulled out of the driveway and sped off as soon as he noticed the troopers, nearly hitting one of them in the process, according to police.
Police said the troopers decided not to pursue Bannister-Sanchez because his vehicle was already being monitored by a court-authorized GPS tracking device.
The troopers tracked Bannister-Sanchez’s vehicle remotely as he drove “at high rates of speed” through Middleboro, Lakeville and Taunton.
Police said the troopers rushed to Kingman Road after noticing the vehicle had suddenly stopped moving.
That’s when the troopers realized Bannister-Sanchez had lost control and crashed head-on into Medeiros’ vehicle.
Soon after the crash, Bannister-Sanchez hopped out of his car with a backpack and took off running. Police said he was quickly apprehended thanks to bystanders.
Police said the troopers eventually executed search warrants at two properties connected to Bannister-Sanchez — one in Quincy and another in Norton.
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Investigators found a large amount of cash and paperwork in Bannister-Sanchez’s name at the Quincy address. Bannister-Sanchez also had roughly $20,000 inside the backpack he was carrying when he was arrested, according to police.
Police said investigators uncovered a slew of drugs at the Norton address, including roughly 750 grams of suspected cocaine, 70 grams of suspected fentanyl, 240 grams of suspected fentanyl pills, 182 grams of suspected methamphetamine pills and various drug packaging materials.
Investigators also found a firearm with a large capacity magazine containing 11 rounds, a large amount of cash and a drug ledger, according to police.
Between Bannister-Sanchez’s backpack, the Quincy address and the Norton residence, investigators found nearly $88,300 in cash, which can be attributed to the couple’s drug trafficking profits.
Investigators arrested Bannister-Sanchez’s girlfriend, identified by police as 34-year-old Jillian Haynes, at the Norton address after learning she was his accomplice.
Haynes was charged with trafficking fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a firearm and of a large-capacity feeding device, and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Bannister-Sanchez is currently being held without bail on charges connected to the crash, including manslaughter, reckless motor vehicle homicide and negligent motor vehicle homicide.
Police said he’s now additionally facing the same drug and firearm charges as his girlfriend, as well as assault with a dangerous weapon for attempting to hit the trooper with his vehicle.
Medeiros was a wife, mother and businesswoman who lived in Middleboro and worked for a mortgage company, according to friend and colleague Lisa Dooley.
“We were shocked and saddened beyond belief,” Dooley recalled.
Dooley, president of the South Shore Women’s Business Network, said Medeiros served on the organization’s board and described her as “beautiful inside and out.”
“She had the most amazing smile,” Dooley said. “That’s one of the things I will miss the most about her.”
Kira Watkins, another friend of Medeiros, tells 12 News she will miss her sense of humor.
“She was always good for a joke or a funny comment,” Watkins said. “Her demeanor just put you at ease, like you could really be yourself … She was truly a light and set an example for how we should strive to be.”