Repeat Offender Recklessly Injures Deputy on 441

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Traffic on US-441 was blocked from Glades to Yamato this morning after a serious accident near Kimberly Road. Hector Mauricio Mazariegos (age 31, Coral Springs) was arrested and charged with several offenses.
According to the Sheriff’s report:

P-1 (the deputy) was working a traffic enforcement operation on State Road 7 just south of Kimberly Blvd with several other deputies. P-1 obtained a speed reading of 97 mph on V-1 (Mazariegos on the motorcycle) in a 45 mph zone.
P-1 stepped into the center lane, faced southbound and was waving V-1 over. According to witnesses the deputy had been out in the roadway for more than enough time for the rider to see him and stop. The deputy was wearing a neon green reflective vest at the time. V-1 slowed and tried to drive around P-1, but at the same time P-1 feared V-1 was going to run him over and moved slightly to his right.
V-1 impacted with the deputy, then made a heavy brake applicated (leaving a lengthy skid mark) and overturned. V-1 slid to final rest at Kimberly Blvd.

Mr. Mazariegos has quite a history in the courts, as explained below the scene photos.

Reader photo of accident scene
Reader photo of accident scene

Reader photo showing what we believe to be the deputy on the ground at the scene.
Reader photo showing what we believe to be the deputy on the ground at the scene.

By our count, Mazariegos has had 9 traffic cases (7 of them criminal) in Broward County dating back to 2007:
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He also was arrested in 2015 in Palm Beach County for driving without a valid license. Despite his lengthy history, that charge was resolved with a fine and “adjudication withheld.”
Similar to a case we reported last year, the prosecutors and courts in Palm Beach and Broward County seem to have a policy of going easy on serious repeat traffic offenders. In the previous incident three young males were badly injured. Now it’s a deputy taking the hit.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg is running unopposed in this year’s election so we can expect another four years of lax enforcement. Mr. Mazariegos has probably run out of luck.
PBSO reports the charges against Mazariegos as:

  • Reckless Driving resulting in serious bodily injury
  • No Driver’s License causing serious bodily injury
  • Driving without a motorcycle endorsement
  • Driving an unregistered vehicle
  • Attaching an unassigned tag to a vehicle

Mazariegos’ Facebook page indicates he works (or worked) for Fit Foodz Cafe, which is on Clint Moore near 441.

Car vs. Pole on US-441: Video and Photos

All photos and video copyright Warren Redlich, West Boca News. Media may use if credit given to WestBocaNews.com or @WestBocaNews.
All photos and video copyright Warren Redlich, West Boca News. Media may use if credit given to WestBocaNews.com or @WestBocaNews.

This afternoon we were alerted to an accident on 441 south of Kimberly Blvd, with indications that a car had hit a pole and the pole was on the roof of the car.
We were able to get to the scene for photos and video. At top is a wide angle view of the scene looking toward the south at northbound traffic. The car apparently hit one of the light poles on the northbound side of the road, well off the roadway. Below is a somewhat closer look at the area.
The Palm Beach Sheriff and FPL were both on scene. Fire Rescue had already left.
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There was substantial damage to the car, including both the front end and the roof.
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The pole was dislodged from its base and you can see it laying on the ground below.
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Our video from the scene is below. We did not hear any report of injuries one way or another.

Hit and Run at 441 & Kimberly? Victim Identiified

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Late last night we learned there had been a serious accident at the intersection of 441 and New England, which is between Glades and Yamato at the north end of Boca Greens plaza.

The initial report we had just before 11:30 pm was:

New England Blvd & State Road 7 — PBCFR station 54 on-scene of a motorcyclist hit by a van that fled the scene, advising Priority-1 Trauma Alert to Delray Medical Center by ground, suspect vehicle is a silver van Hispanic male driver — Tac 4A

Shortly thereafter we had an update:

State Road 7 will be shut down, both directions, from Yamato Rd to Kimberly Blvd for a couple hours at least, for an active Traffic Homicide Investigation

This morning we received an update from the Sheriff. Their report did not mention the van or anything else about a hit and run.

V-1 was westbound on New England Boulevard, approaching US Highway 441 in the right turn lane. V-1 made a heavy braking application before reaching the intersection, which resulted in the vehicle overturning onto its right side. The motorcycle slid through the intersection on its side and came to rest on the west side of US 441, within the westbound lanes of Boca Green (Entrance to a gas station). The operator of the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet and was ejected from the motorcycle. He was transported to Delray Medical Center for treatment.

New England is the north side of Boca Greens plaza, and it is where the gas station is located.
They did identify the motorcycle driver as James Andrew Bishop, age 20, a resident of The Colony in Delray Beach. He is an Olympic Heights graduate.

James Andrew Bishop
James Andrew Bishop

Friends of Mr. Bishop gave us an update on his injuries:

He’s in the Trauma ICU at the Delray Medical Center in critical condition. Skull fractures and a few other head injuries.

Note that the PBSO report indicated Mr. Bishop was in serious condition, rather than critical.
There are a couple of discrepancies in the story that we can’t resolve at this point. We checked with our contact at PBSO who had also initially heard about a van leaving the scene and did not know why it’s not in the report. The way the report is written suggests that there was no van involved.
We’re not sure why but we see a lot of accidents in this area. Last May there was another motorcycle accident there. And there was a fatal accident very close to this in the southbound lanes in August.
crash-close-lighter
Just north of this at Yamato there was a rollover accident in November.
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Another Dead Body

Update (May 7, 2015): PBSO has identified the body as: Vilelio Gerson Vasquez-Portillo, 22, of Miami Gardens.

All images copyrighted by Warren Redlich, 2015. Media may use any photo by crediting @WestBocaNews, or WestBocaNews.com
All photos copyrighted by Warren Redlich unless noted. Media may use any photo by crediting West Boca News, @WestBocaNews, or WestBocaNews.com

This morning we were notified of another dead body found in our area. This body was found on the far west end of Old Everglades-Pump Road (aka Kimberly), near the southwest corner of the Saturnia neighborhood (but separated by the canal). This is west of Eagles Landing Middle School, north of Osprey Point Golf Course, and on the eastern edge of the Loxahatchee Refuge and the Everglades.

PBSO has released this initial statement:

Shortly after 8:00 am, a fisherman boating near the 19000 block of 120 Ave South, Boca Raton, saw a male lying near the embankment, while concerned for his well-being, he immediately called 911 to alert deputies and fire rescue personnel. When deputies and fire rescue arrived they located the male deceased.
Detectives from the Violent Crimes Division as well as Crime Scene Investigators are in route to the scene to investigate further. No suspect information or motive known at this time.

When we arrived there were several police vehicles already present, as you can see in the photo at top. We could not get close but our best guess is that the body was found in the area marked off by crime scene tape.
crime-tape
While we were on scene, the “Crime Scene” van arrived and went to that area.
crime-scene-van
There is a canal on the north side of Old Everglades-Pump Road and it’s possible there was some evidence on the bank of the canal. We saw people looking over in that area a few times.
canal-men
Police vehicles were gathered near the intersection with 120th Avenue South.
120th
Two TV crews showed up, from WPBF and WPTV.
tv-vehicles
The initial report was that the body was an Hispanic adult male. We will update when we get more information.
We heard from at least one area resident concerned that West Boca and West Delray are becoming dumping grounds for dead bodies. We think that’s a bit of an overreaction.
The other very recent incident was a body found near Delray Marketplace. An arrest was made in that case. The victim and alleged murderer are from Broward and/or Miami, but the murder allegedly occurred near West Boca Medical Center. Last year a West Boca woman was found dead in West Sandalfoot in her luxury SUV, a case that remains unsolved. Also in 2014 a body was found in Logger’s Run, which was determined to be a suicide.
Our early video from the scene is here:

Dead body found west end of Old Everglades Pump Road, near Saturnia.

Posted by West Boca News on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Note that we were kept far, far back from the scene. We estimate it was a quarter-mile.
distance
PBSO would not let us closer, even on foot, first claiming that the dirt road might be disturbed (despite numerous PBSO vehicles driving over it), and then that there was evidence in the grassy areas.

Gas Prices: Hidden Secret?

A reader reports to us this morning that there’s a new gas station in West Boca that’s offering better prices:

Just FYI the gas station at Kimberly and Hampton is 2.59. It’s a hidden secret. The new sign wasn’t working I will get a better photo later. It’s also Marathon now. 20 cents cheaper then Chevron.

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We have had a tool on our website, through MapQuest, that shows gas prices in West Boca. And there is also an app called Gas Buddy that shows gas prices to users on mobile devices.
We checked out what we could find both on our page and through Gas Buddy, which seems to be more popular and updated more frequently by users. From what we could see the “new” gas station is not a particularly good deal. Gas Buddy shows that station’s price as higher than what our reader reported, and the nearby Chevron as less expensive. But of course those apps can be inaccurate.
gas-west-boca
We’ve always felt that the Cumberland Farms at Sandalfoot and 441 has the best prices in West Boca, and it looks like that’s still true. We hear complaints all the time about bums or troublemakers hanging around that gas station but we’ve never noticed any issues.
gas-sandalfoot

Boca Theater & Automation Opens New Facility in Hamptons Plaza

bta-front
Boca Theater and Automation (“BTA”) the premier provider of turn-key, custom built luxury A/V and building automation systems in South Florida, announced today that it will be relocating its corporate headquarters and Technology Experience Center to a brand new state-of-the-art facility in Boca Raton, Florida. West Boca locals may remember them in their previous location next door to Ben’s Deli in The Reserve shopping center at 441 and Clint Moore.
“This move is a milestone in the evolution of our business,” said BTA’s CEO and Founder Jeff Galea. “We reached a turning point that necessitated choosing a new location that would not only accommodate our growing team, but also better serve our customers. We can now showcase the top of the line systems we are proud to provide, and demonstrate the value we bring to these solutions. We could not have taken this company to the next level without the incredible support of our customers, the talented BTA staff, and the close relationships we have cultivated with the manufacturers with whom we partner.”
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The new 8,500 sq. ft. facility located in Hamptons Plaza (on the southwest corner of Lyons and Kimberly) features the latest technology for collaboration with BTA’s customers and partners. Featuring audiovisual displays capable of demonstrating BTA’s cutting edge integration techniques, a fabrication facility designed for enhanced productivity and quality assurance, and a workspace for employees that maximizes the flow of information through the use of the latest networking technologies, BTA is poised to transform the luxury A/V industry. The former Wells Fargo Building was also retrofitted with premier LED and solar lighting throughout, providing an energy efficient and optimal lighting environment for our customers and staff.
“This new facility is equipped with all the necessary resources for our experienced in-house staff to have complete flexibility in testing, designing, installing, and supporting customized integrated solutions for our clients nationwide,” said BTA’s General Manager, David Vranicar. “This high-quality workspace will help us continue to attract and retain the most qualified talent in the industry.”
BTA’s new Technology Experience Center and corporate address is 9020 Kimberly Blvd., Boca Raton, Florida 33434.

About BTA:
Boca Theater and Automation is a premier provider of turn-key custom built, luxury A/V and building automation systems in South Florida. They create easy to use systems that simplify your life, increase safety and save energy. Founded in 2001 by Jeff Galea, BTA is focused on delivering luxury A/V and building automation systems to residential and commercial properties. The systems integrate entertainment, lighting, shading, climate, communications, security and life safety controls into your home or office environment.
For more information about Boca Theater and Automation visit www.bocatheater.com or call 561-999-9024.
bta-front-side
This article was sponsored by Boca Theater and Automation.

West Boca Shooting: Details and Photos

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Sunday there were reports of a shooting in the Boca Fontana neighborhood, on the 7600 block of Majorca Place. This area is east of 441 on the south side of Kimberly (between Yamato and Glades), and not far from Boca Greens, Southwinds Golf Course and Olympic Heights High School.

Details from official sources are limited, and the people involved aren’t talking. The official story so far is that a resident was confronted by robbers and used a pistol in self defense, accidentally hitting a neighbor in the process. Oddly some of the reports identify the shooter as the “victim.”
We went to the scene Monday afternoon. As you can see in the picture on top, the media was there. This was well over 12 hours after the shooting, and nothing was going on.
One notable detail is a bullet hole in the neighbor’s house:
bullethole
The following photo gives a better feel for the scene, with the shooter’s home to the right and the neighbor’s house across the street on the far left:
two-houses
The two houses are mirror-image single floor models even with a similar color scheme. The bullet hole is in the vertical blue stripe between the garage and the front door, a few feet above the horizontal stripe and a few feet below the roof line.
Considering the height of the bullet hole, it would appear that the shooter fired at least two rounds, and not very accurately. It is possible that one of the rounds hit one of the robbers, though we haven’t heard anything further. Reports indicate the robbers got away.
We believe we have identified the shooter, a 72-year-old man who runs a business out of the home. We are not publishing his name yet because the Sheriff has expressed concerns that the robbers might target him. Similarly the shooting victim has not been named, though we understand he is in his 30s, married with a young child (note the toy near the front door). The property is owned by an investor group that acquired it in 2013 and owns at least one other house on the street. It was rented out in December of 2013, though one source tells us the shooting victim is a new tenant so the 2013 tenant may have been replaced.
The shooter’s house is owned by another 70+ woman who appears to have immigrated from Japan many years ago. Their relationship is unclear but they’ve both been in this house for a long time. We see no criminal history for the shooter, other than a few minor traffic tickets.
One story we’ve heard is that the shooter was coming home from some kind of event, perhaps a jewelry show. He does own a business that would fit with going to jewelry shows, though we can’t find any record of such an event that day. In this version of events, the “bad guys” followed him home to rob him, and he defended himself.
We can’t say this version of events is false of course. But we should also recognize that this area has some crime, as you can see in the crime map below (showing more than 10 burglaries, along with thefts, car break-ins and more reported from March 1 through April 6):
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Also, the story does not seem consistent with how the Sheriff initially reported the story:
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A later version we heard from the Sheriff was a little closer:

Victim was returning home from work when he was approached by unknown suspects. In an attempt to protect himself he armed himself with a handgun. During the course of the attempted robbery the victim discharged his firearm. Gunfire accidently struck a nearby neighbor.

The shooting is shown on the lower left of that image, marked in the assault category with the word shooting in the description. Note that the alleged robbery is not included in the crime map data. Zip code 33434 has a very low crime rate but that is mainly because it includes the gated and mostly senior communities of Century Village and Boca West.
A shooter in cases like this will often be prosecuted, at least for negligence in how he handled his firearm if not for something more serious. In firearms training one learns not only to be sure of your target but also to know what’s behind your target. Keep in mind that Palm Beach County voted heavily Democrat in the last four or five presidential elections, and our county prosecutor went after retired dentist Wayne Tover in a shooting incident on Glades Road where Tover actually hit his target. The fact that this shooter is being treated differently makes us wonder if he has connections to police or others in government.
The Boca Fontana shooter is also likely to face a civil suit from his neighbor, and that looks like a strong case for the shooting victim. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a lawyer to take that case.
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Fortunately for all involved the shooting victim appears to be recovering well.

4 Arrests in 2014 for Ricardo Tincel

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West Boca youth Ricardo Tincel (18) was arrested Thursday for the fourth time in 2014. This arrest was on grand theft charges. In October he was picked up for another grand theft. These are both felony charges and are generally considered serious. The October case has not been resolved yet and remains open.
There were two other minor arrests this year. In September he was arrested in Broward accused of resisting without violence (often a bogus charge). And back in January he was arrested for marijuana along with some traffic charges.
Tincel’s reported address is in the American Homes neighborhood north of Kimberly and east of 441. We were not able to determine what high school he attended (or attends) but the address is zoned for Olympic Heights.
Mr. Tincel remains in custody at this writing, more than 24 hours after he was first booked.

Repeat Felon Steals Girlfriend's Checks?

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Charles Brice Nelson (above, 23) was arrested on Wednesday and charged with five separate counts including two traffic tickets, two felony counts of fraud, and one count of felony grand theft. He remains in custody at this writing on $18,000 bond.
Per the Palm Beach Post, Nelson allegedly stole checks from a girlfriend and used them to pay off personal debts. It should be noted that Mr. Nelson apparently denies doing so, and he is innocent at this stage of the legal process.
Mr. Nelson has a significant criminal history in the county. He’s had several traffic tickets in just a few years, and in addition he had felony arrests in 2012 and 2013. The 2012 felony arrest involved an aggravated assault charge and a second count that court records show as either “burglary with assault” or “robbery with weapon.” The latter charge was dropped, Nelson was adjudicated guilty of the assault and he was sentenced to a year in jail and 4 years of probation. That probation was later revoked.
With that sentence in mind, it’s odd that his 2013 felony arrest, for grand theft, involves an offense date before that one-year sentence would have been completed. Court records show he was adjudicated guilty in the 2013 case and was sentenced to “364 days” concurrent with the first sentence, and it shows no additional probation.
It’s now a few months after that second one-year sentence finished and he’s arrested again, this time for grand theft and fraud.
Mr. Nelson’s reported address is just southeast of the intersection of Kimberly and 441, in a small house that is owned by someone in Rhode Island.

Middle School Bus Driver Goes Nuts

A middle school bus driver in West Boca Raton shoved and kicked a boy off a bus, as can be seen from a student’s cell phone video below, provided to us by a reader and parent.

NOTE: A number of readers have attempted to post comments with curse words. Our site generally does not allow obscenity. Keep it clean if you want your comments to appear on the site.


The driver can be heard yelling at the boy:

Off my bus

and

Cry like a little bitch!

Our source tells us that the bus driver’s name is Robert, and that this was a bus from Eagle’s Landing Middle School in West Boca Raton. The stop where this occurred was by the intersection of Lyons Rd and Kimberly Blvd. A friend of West Boca News who lives nearby confirmed visually that it matches the location.
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We are told that there was a problem with the regular bus and the district sent a different bus with a different driver than usual. The driver missed a stop and reacted when the boy complained about that.
The video is short and we can’t see what happened beforehand. A commenter below says the driver was acting in self defense.
West Boca News is attempting to contact the school district for comment, but we got notice of this Friday evening and expect it may be some time before we hear anything from them.
This is the third recent bus/school incident in a few weeks. Yesterday a charter bus carrying students from a West Boca elementary school crashed and injured several students. And a few weeks ago a Boca Raton bus driver was beaten by parents in West Palm Beach.