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Man accused in DUI death allowed free on bail

Sun – Sentinel – Coconut Creek man accused of driving drunk when he struck and killed a Deerfield Beach woman waiting for a bus last month can remain free on a $102,000 bond, a Broward judge ruled Thursday.

Jusevic had been convicted of a 2005 DUI, which also involved leaving the scene of an accident. Broward County Judge John Hurley was aware of the earlier conviction when he set the original bond amount on Dec. 22.

Haimes said he would not have granted bond if Jusevic had been brought before him after his arrest, but unless the defendant violated the conditions of his release, Haimes said he was powerless to reverse Hurley’s decision.

Witnesses recount harrowing aftermath of boat wreck on Biscayne Bay

Other boaters and frantic radio communications describe a chaotic rescue and failed attempt to save a victim’s life after boating accident.



For rescuers and survivors, the first frantic minutes after a deadly boat collision on Biscayne Bay seemed to play out like hours.

A nurse aboard a sailboat that was the first craft on the scene gave mouth-to-mouth to one man clinging to life while waiting in frustration for help that didn’t come in time.

“He had a light, faint pulse. It was on and off,” said Fritzie Ortiz, the nurse who lept from that sailboat onto a sinking, battered powerboat to aid Jason Soleimani. “He probably could have made it.”

Ortiz and others aboard the sailboat provided the first detailed account Tuesday of the harrowing aftermath of the July Fourth wreck. They described a chaotic scramble to help by fellow boaters and assorted marine authorities. Their descriptions of the rescue effort were confirmed by recordings of emergency radio transmissions and one survivor.

“Our family was shattered in a matter of minutes,” said Lynda Hanono, a 52-year-old survivor who suffered a broken nose. “It did feel like forever. But you don’t know. When you go into panic, you don’t know how long it was.”

With the dead and living thrown into the water and splayed out across boat decks, rescue crews searched the bay for the more than 20 passengers aboard three boats involved in the crash. The injured screamed for help in the dark waters, Ortiz told the Miami Herald. Marine radio traffic that night captured several boaters frantically calling for assistance. State and local rescue crews reported performing CPR on at least three victims.

But by the following afternoon, four would be confirmed dead in one of the worst recreational boating accidents in South Florida history: Victoria Dempsey, 20; Andrew Garcia, 23; Kelsie Karpiak, 24; and Soleimani, 23. Another three were seriously injured.

Allan Sabatier and his six passengers, who were heading south in a 36-foot Hunter sailboat after watching fireworks, were the first to fathom the scale of devastation of the collision off Dinner Key.

Sabatier, an executive with Del Monte Fresh Produce, said he was leisurely motoring toward Paradise Point marina where he anchors his sailboat when he heard “a whack” about 100 yards away. When he looked up, he saw one boat speeding away from another, and then two flares go up.

Sabatier said he turned on his radio to issue “Mayday” calls. His passengers — his son, his son’s girlfriend and two other couples in their late 20s — strained in the dark to see what happened. Two powerboats had collided: A 32-foot Contender with five aboard had T-boned a 36-foot Carrera.

“We didn’t think much of it until we heard kids crying and people yelling ‘help,’ and we saw someone in the ocean that fell off from the Contender,” said Ortiz, a nurse visiting the Sabatiers from the San Francisco area. “Then we saw tons of blood in the boat …”

When they pulled closer, they saw Soleimani lying on the deck of the Carrera, which had a gaping gash in its right side and was taking on water. Three men on the sailboat grabbed the foundering boat, pulling it close so survivors, all members of the Hanono family, could climb to safety.

They also threw a life jacket to a young girl who’d been thrown from the Contender into the water, where she was yelling for help. When they pulled her up, they say she began screaming: “I don’t know this family! I don’t know these people!”

With the Hanono family on the sailboat, Devon Sabatier’s girlfriend, Sheena Nicholl, took the two youngest survivors, girls age 5 and 2, into a cabin to shield them from the carnage. Above, witnesses said their mother, Dayanara Arias, was vomiting and fading in and out of consciousness from a head injury.

Nearby, the captain of a third boat also struck by the aimlessly circling Contender called for help. Sabatier also was still working the radio, calling for assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and marine patrols responding to the crash.

“Mayday! Mayday! I see your flashing lights. You’re going the wrong way,” he said frantically in recorded transmissions as boats chased after the Contender, still unmanned and circling.

With Sabatier on the radio, Ortiz and friend Liliana Cabrera boarded the sinking Carrera to check on Soleimani. Authorities had previously reported he was likely killed on impact, but Ortiz told the Herald he was still alive, if barely.

Aided by the glow of flashlights and flares, Ortiz said she began performing mouth-to-mouth, which was difficult because Soleimani was bleeding badly from a cut near his mouth and choking on blood. Cabrera, who also has CPR training, was pumping his chest.

Allan Sabatier continued to radio for help: “Coast Guard. Coast Guard. One person is severely injured out here. We’re not moving, we’re stationary. The boat you’re chasing is the one that hit this boat.”

Sabatier acknowledged Tuesday that it was difficult to tell the difference between rescue boats in the darkness. Members of a tow crew also told WFOR-CBS4 that their boat arrived in moments and they hopped aboard the Contender and killed its engine.

Back on the Carrera, Ortiz and Cabrera continued performing CPR on Soleimani. At one point, they say the girl rescued from the Contender — either Catherine Payan or Samantha Rolph, who had also suffered serious injuries — jumped on board and tried to help.

“Everyone contributed their parts, but [rescuers] didn’t get there, it felt like, until forever,’’ Ortiz said. “It probably took 10 or 15 minutes.”

The ordeal left Ortiz and friends feeling like more could have been done. They stressed that they weren’t pointing fingers, but the first boat to show up was a police boat and she said officers aboard weren’t able to help Soleimani. The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue union also has questioned whether there were enough rescue crews on the bay that night.

Lynda Hanono thanked the sailboat crew in an interview Tuesday with the Herald. She confirmed that they sheltered her granddaughters and tried to save Soleimani. But she didn’t share their concerns about rescue efforts.

“He’s gone whether he died there or an hour later,” she said. “He was sitting on the right side in the front seat, in front of the console and the boat hit him.”

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Jorge Pino, a spokesman for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is leading the investigation, said Tuesday that he had not heard about efforts by the sailboat crew.

He defended the response, saying authorities were dealing with multiple boats, multiple injuries, knocked-out boaters and “hundreds of boats in the bay swerving around casing wake and more havoc.”

“Nobody appreciates the chaotic nature of this case,” he said. “This is the worst of the worst that you could fathom. And for our guys to work the way they did under the conditions they did, to me they’re heroes.”

Investigators continue to look into the crash. Authorities say they found evidence of alcohol aboard the Contender, which struck the other boats, but won’t know if alcohol was a factor until receiving the results of toxicology tests.

Miami Herald staff writer Sue Cocking and writer Emma Court contributed to this story.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/08/4225479/witnesses-recount-harrowing-aftermath.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/08/4225479/witnesses-recount-harrowing-aftermath.html#storylink=cpy

Sister of woman struck, killed by two drivers: ‘We have no hope of catching the 2nd person’

As Angel LaRouge stepped into a busy Hollywood intersection on a January night, an SUV driver swerved to avoid her, but still struck her. He didn’t stop to help.

Thirteen seconds after the impact threw LaRouge to the ground, a second car ran over the 47-year-old woman. That motorist, too, drove away, leaving her for dead.

The drivers made the same chilling, split-second decision to vanish, but there would be one key difference.

The SUV driver, arrested this past week, decided to turn himself in to authorities, police said. The second driver remains unknown, and LaRouge’s family suspects it will forever stay that way.

“We have no hope of catching the second person,” said LaRouge’s sister, Rachel Wernert, who lives in Pennsylvania. “We just were blown away this happens so frequently in Florida, and the penalty is not commensurate with taking a life.”

LaRouge clung to life for eight days following the Jan. 27 crash before succumbing to her injuries.

“Let the drivers know that this is a member of a family,” Wernert said. “Angel had five siblings who are grieving for her and her mother, an 82-year-old woman.”


The second motorist may have been driving a silver 2002 Hyundai Elantra, police said.

It’s a “sad commentary on society” when the urge for self-preservation trumps the decency to show compassion, said Hollywood Lt. Derik Alexander.

“Because we’re all human, you want to think [they fled] because they panicked. But there is such a prevalence of people not caring for others as they should,” he said. “They are most focused on avoiding trouble than rendering aid.”

LaRouge last year relocated from Pittsburgh to South Florida to start anew. She had no car and used the local transit system.

Police said Bernard Phillips, 52, of West Park, walked into the Hollywood Police Department four days after the crash and admitted to striking LaRouge with his 2000 Ford Expedition.

Red-light surveillance cameras captured the deadly crash just past 8 p.m. at U.S. 441 and Hollywood Boulevard.

After striking LaRouge, Phillips stopped at the gas station on the northwest corner of the intersection, where surveillance footage shows him getting out of his SUV, police said. When emergency responders arrived, he jumped back into the car and drove off.

Phillips has been charged with leaving the scene of a deadly hit-and-run accident without rendering aid, a felony. He remains in custody on a $50,000 bond, records show.

The Broward State Attorney’s Office declined to say why Phillips’ April 28 arrest came about three months after the crash. A spokesman would not comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

Phillips’ relatives couldn’t be reached for comment Friday despite a visit to his listed address. Court records didn’t indicate whether he has hired a lawyer.

Phillips has had prior run-ins with the law, records show.

His license was revoked for two years in December 2008 for an offense involving a controlled substance, according to the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Phillips was convicted of marijuana possession and resisting an officer without violence in 1997 and cocaine possession in 2008, state records show.




Boca man dies after being hit by bus, deputies say

A Boca Raton man died months after being run over by a bus, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash happened in Century Village in West Palm Beach on Dec. 30 at 1:46 p.m..

Authorities said Herman Lipson, 95, and Arlene Shapiro, 79, both of Boca Raton, were walking along a one way road near a pool when Shapiro heard a bus coming.


When the bus looked like it wasn’t going to stop, Shapiro told investigators she tried to pull Lipson out of the way but it was too late. The bus ran over Lipson’s legs and came to a stop.

Paramedics arrived to find Lipson with a severe leg injury and a head injury from the fall. Shapiro broke her wrist, according to the report. Both were taken to Delray Medical Center.

Investigators do not believe the driver of the bus, Auguste Millien, 66, of Delray Beach, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.

Authorities said Lipson died from complications from his injuries on Feb. 15, marking the 19th traffic fatality investigated by the Sheriff’s Office.





Our One and Only, Patrick W. Lawlor Added as New Board Member

Link provided : Patrick Lawlor put on Board of Directors for The Florida Sports Foundation.