Photos, Video and More of the Deadly Driver

The Broward Sheriff's Office released more details about the deadly crash on Hillsboro in Deerfield Beach. Some young people from West Boca were involved including a driver now facing vehicular homicide, DUI and reckless driving charges.

Below, for paid subscribers, are photos and videos of the driver along with additional content related to the crash.

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Tesla Fatal Crash in Deerfield Beach

Sunday morning before 4 am there was a crash on Hillsboro Boulevard in Deerfield Beach. Readers reported that Hillsboro was closed for as long as 14 hours, and we verified this with both Google Maps and to some extent with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s office has provided almost no detail about this incident.

Update: Sheriff’s Office responded Tuesday morning. The 2o-year-old driver of the white BMW has been charged with vehicular homicide, DUI and reckless driving.

Just before 4 a.m., Raphael Candido Vilela was driving a 2005 BMW 530i traveling westbound on West Hillsboro Boulevard at a high rate of speed. Sebastian Espinoza was driving a 2018 Tesla Model 3 traveling eastbound in the designated left turn lane, turning northbound on Country Club Boulevard.

As Espinoza’s Tesla entered the intersection, Vilela’s BMW struck the passenger side of the Tesla. The impact ripped the passenger side, rear seats and trunk area off the Tesla.

After impact, the BMW caught fire as it continued westbound for approximately 700 feet. The front wheels of the car detached at impact causing the engine compartment to drag across the roadway.

Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue transported all the occupants to Broward Health North with varying degrees of injuries. Thais Haug, the passenger of the Tesla, died as a result of her injuries. Sebastian Espinoza, the driver of the Tesla, was treated and released with minor injuries.

The driver of the BMW, Raphael Candido Vilela, as well as the three passengers, Alive Silva, Giovannia Silva and Joao Coneglian, suffered serious bodily injuries and remain in intensive care.

The investigation released that excessive speed and driver impairment were the primary factors of the crash. Vilela is now facing charges for vehicular homicide, DUI and reckless driving.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact BSO Traffic Homicide Det. Anthony Morales at 954-321-4840

Our sources tell us that the white car in the middle of Hillsboro is a Lexus (update: Some readers say it was a BMW) and had a driver and passenger both injured. At last report both are still alive.

Remains of the white Lexus

The Sheriff told us there was on fatality and two critically injured. A couple sources tell us that the other car in the accident was a Tesla and that the driver passed away. Our best guess is a Model 3, though we’re not completely sure it’s a Tesla at all. We saw a photo that looked like a Model 3, but the wheel logo did not look like one from a Tesla. We don’t have the rights to include that photo in this article, we don’t have a good enough photo to be sure, and the Sheriff is not talking.

Supposedly this is a Tesla

We don’t know how reliable this is but there is some indication that the White Lexus/BMW driver may have been impaired by alcohol. A source also indicates the white car was driving above the speed limit on Hillsboro when the Tesla came out from a plaza on the side.

If it is a Tesla there’s a good chance it will have video of the incident that can be used to accurately determine fault, and otherwise let everyone know what happened. But that’s only true if the Sheriff decides to share information with the public, which so far they’re not doing.

It is unusual for a crash investigation to take 14 hours. We usually see them take 4-5 hours. And it is also unusual in our experience for police to keep details quiet and be unresponsive when they’re blocking a major road for such a long time.

There is no indication as yet whether the Tesla was operating on auto-pilot, but from the source’s description it does not seem like a situation where a Tesla would be self-driving.

We will reach out to Tesla to see if they can provide any information.

Disclosure: The author owns stock in Tesla and runs an Elon Musk fan club group on Facebook.

Lasorda Killed in Accident with Boca Police Vehicle

Joseph Smokey Lasorda, picture from Facebook.

Joe “Smokey” Lasorda died last night in an accident with an unmarked Boca Raton police SUV. Lasorda, 83, was the brother of Tommy Lasorda, former manager of the LA Dodgers and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Smokey was also the founder of the former Lasorda’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in Exton, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. He had retired to Florida and lived in Colonnade at Glen Oaks near Yamato and Jog Road (upper left corner of the map, below).

The accident happened at the intersection of Military Trail and Potomac at the southeast corner of Lynn University.

Intersection of Miltary Trail and Potomac; Image and map data from Google Maps.

According to an accident report from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office, Sgt. Doug Immler of Boca PD was on duty, traveling southbound in an unmarked Chevy Traverse. Lasorda was traveling northbound on Military and turned left toward Potomac, causing the collision. The two vehicles then came into contact with a third vehicle that was stopped on Potomac. Sgt. Immler sustained minor injuries and the other driver was unhurt.

Joe “Smokey” Lasorda’s profile picture from Facebook.

The media relations staff from PBSO and Boca PD have both been responsive to our inquiries. The accident occurred inside the city and it seems wise for Boca PD to have called in PBSO to conduct the investigation. The PBSO Vehicle Homicide Unit determined that Sgt. Immler had a steady green light and was not at fault in the accident. They are working on an accident reconstruction and we know from experience that takes time.

Sgt. Immler’s father is Mark Immler, former chief of Boynton Beach PD and currently employed as an attorney for Boca PD. Sgt. Immler’s brother Zachary Immler was a police officer in West Palm Beach who made the news in the wrong way recently for stealing money during a narcotics investigation.

Sgt. Immler, right, with city council member Robert Weinroth

Lessons from Hurricane Irma: 1. Roundabouts

West Boca News has often advocated for roundabouts. Hurricane Irma showed us another advantage. When the power went out so did traffic lights, and our intersections became chaotic nightmares. Roundabouts are unaffected by power outages.
In general they’re safer and more efficient than regular intersections. Carmel Indiana converted over 100 intersections to roundabouts and saw “a 40% decrease in accidents, with an 80% decrease in injury-causing crashes and90% reduction in fatalities.” By comparison its non-roundabout neighbor Indianapolis saw: “a 30 percent increase in accidents with injury and a 16 percent increase in accidents resulting in a fatality ….”
I was discussing this with a friend who lives south of Glades off Lyons. FDOT is in the middle of a $1.8 million dollar project on Lyons. The main problem was the high volume of serious accidents at or near the intersection on Lyons with Escondido Way, the entrances to Escondido and Timbers of Boca. The so-called solution: straighten the curves and bank the roadway. Not only does this fail to address the intersection itself, but it will allow traffic on Lyons to go faster, making the intersection even more dangerous.
FDOT was more concerned with cars going off the road due to excessive speed on the curves, but their crash analysis did not break down severity by type of accident. Anyone who drives there knows that making a left turn onto Lyons there from either side is uncomfortable at best.
It is well known that roundabouts make intersections safer, but FDOT and our local politicians ignore that. Instead FDOT is increasing the speed of traffic entering an intersection known to be dangerous.
Below are a series of images showing what the intersection of Lyons and Escondido would look like with a Carmel roundabout superimposed on it. The images and map data are from Google Maps.




Many of our readers dismiss roundabouts with quick responses. Let’s be clear – Carmel Indiana saw a 90% reduction in traffic fatalities by converting many intersections to roundabouts. You can only oppose roundabouts if you want more people to die. Roundabouts save lives.

Dead Body Identified in Coral Springs – Weston Faulkner

Weston Faulkner from Facebook

Coral Springs Police have identified the dead body found yesterday near US-441 and Wiles Road. Weston Faulkner, a 20-year-old male from North Carolina, died of an apparent overdose. The cause of death is not expected to be verified for at least a few months.
Our research indicates that Mr. Faulkner is a graduate of South Rowan High School in China Grove, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. He was a lineman on the football team weighing up to or over 300 pounds.

Faulker in his football jersey, from Facebook

The young man was troubled by drug abuse and depression, and well aware that he was at risk.

It appears he was living in South Florida at least off and on for the past year or two, with at least some minimal connection to Boca Raton. We have not been able to determine more than that.

Drug abuse and addiction treatment information from StopOverdoseIL.org:

https://stopoverdoseil.org/rehab-centers-near-me/

Drug Addiction

Cocaine

Opiates

https://stopoverdoseil.org/heroin/

https://stopoverdoseil.org/prescription-drugs/