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.

Motorcycle Victim ID'd: Jeffrey Valarezo of Delray

WARNING: This article contains photos that may upset some readers. If you don’t want to see them, don’t scroll down.

A fatal motorcycle accident backed up traffic on Palmetto Park Road and horrified drivers passing by on Monday evening.

Reader photo looking westbound on Palmetto Park Road.

Sources led us to think we knew who the victim was and the Sheriff’s office just confirmed it was Jeffrey Valarezo (20) of Bolero Circle in Delray Beach.
We think Mr. Valarezo may have been a student at Spanish River High in the past, but we’re not sure. We also think his family may be from the country Ecuador. He was registered to vote here in Florida.
One reader told us she saw it happen:

There was no driver at fault: I saw what happened. He was on the lane next to me going the opposite direction. He just tried to switch from the middle lane to the right hand lane right at that curve right before the bridge and he lost control. I saw it all and I haven’t stopped crying because I’m still in shock that I just witnessed this.

From this reader it appears Mr. Valarezo was traveling eastbound on Palmetto Park Road coming up to the bridge over Boca Rio and the Turnpike. The police report does not provide much detail as to how the accident happened or if anyone was at fault.

V-1 was traveling eastbound on W. Palmetto Park Road approaching Boca Rio Road. V-1 struck the center median. D-1 lost control of the vehicle and came to final rest on the median. D-1 was ejected off V-1 and struck a tree. D-1 died on the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.

Valarezo’s motorcycle ended up in the median of the roadway.

WARNING: This is where the photos get more troubling for some readers. Stop now if this bothers you.
SERIOUSLY — IF THIS BOTHERS YOU, DO NOT SCROLL DOWN



Further west his body lay on the ground near a tree. Not long after it happened several passers by attended to his body in the hope they might be able to help.

Later the body was obscured by a yellow covering:

Friends of Mr. Valarezo expressed their sadness:

He was a beautiful soul with a smile always on his face. He was loved by all his friends and he will be missed.

He was an amazing person and didn’t deserve what happened to him, even if it were his fault or another. Today heaven gained an angel and he will be riding in the skies smiling down at us. You will be greatly missed Jeff

We noticed expressions of concern from a wide variety of places including Ecuador, Cuba, South Africa and more.
This location on Palmetto Park Road has seen many serious accidents. Readers complained that something should be done to make it safer, though it’s not clear what caused this accident or that any change to the roadway would have prevented it.
It should be also noted that Mr. Valarezo was wearing a helmet.

Sandalfoot Woman Arrested in Fatal Crash

Laura Haggerty; image by PBSO
Laura Haggerty; image by PBSO

The Broward Sheriff’s Office issued a press release regarding the arrest of a Sandalfoot woman from a fatal crash that occurred on Loxahatchee Road in Parkland back in May:

Broward Sheriff’s Office traffic homicide investigators have arrested a Boca Raton woman who killed her passenger in a single-vehicle crash on Mother’s Day in Parkland.
Laura Haggerty, 47, was taken into custody Sept. 30 with the help of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. She faces two DUI/Manslaughter charges and one charge of vehicular homicide.
Around 4 p.m. May 8, Kelly Rider, 35, was a passenger in a Ford Explorer that was heading eastbound on Loxahatchee Road. Laura Haggerty was behind the wheel. Haggerty lost control of the vehicle near the 12200 block when her SUV drifted off the road. Haggerty overcorrected, causing the vehicle to veer across the roadway and collide with the guardrail on the north side of the street. The SUV then began to spin in a counterclockwise motion, before rolling over.
Rider, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, was ejected. Coral Springs Fire Department pronounced him dead at the scene. BSO Air Rescue transported Haggerty to Broward Health North.
According to BSO detectives, she was speeding and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.25.

The BSO report indicates that both Haggery and Rider lived at the same address on Sailfish Road in Watergate Estates, just north of the west stretch of Sandalfoot Blvd.

Photo of Rider and Haggerty from Rider's Facebook page.
Photo of Rider and Haggerty from Rider’s Facebook page.

Teen Skater Arrested in West Boca for Broward Hit and Run?

Greg Holt mugshot from PBSO
Greg Holt mugshot from PBSO

Update: Broward Sheriff records indicate Holt was arrested for Grand Theft Auto. For now at least there are no charges indicating he caused the fatal accident. 
Greg Holt, a globally ranked street skateboarder from Deerfield Beach, was arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office last night, just a few days after his 18th birthday.
gregholtblotter
A reader reported:

They arrested […] who is suspected in the hit and run in coconut creek on Saturday night that killed the single dad.

Coral Springs Talk reported that police were searching for a male approximately 18 years of age from that incident. Charlie Ruiz (39) was killed in the accident.

Charlie Ruiz and his daughter; photo from Coral Springs PD
Charlie Ruiz and his daughter; photo from Coral Springs PD

We have reached out to PBSO and Coral Springs police to verify if Holt was arrested because of this incident. And we remind our readers that arrestees are innocent until proven guilty.
Holt is well known in the skating community, with over 10,000 followers on Instagram though the posts are restricted to approved followers.
His Facebook profile is full of skating images and videos.
Photo from Holt's Facebook page.
Photo from Holt’s Facebook page.

Update – Further comment from reader:

This was Greg Holt and [we were ] there with him … as the cops had surrounded them as they pulled into the store to get a pizza. We where all held for about 3 hours. … it was Gregs 18th bday and he was coming to see […] after being at the coconut creek party when he flipped the car and killed the vehicle that was hit head on. This is such a tragic situation for all involved. He’s a good kid who had a bright future ahead of him and now it will most likely be spent In prison for the next 20 years. I just keep thinking this could’ve been any of us when we were young. Please keep all families involved in your prayers.

We would predict a prison sentence of 10 years with him getting out in roughly 8 years. It also may be difficult for prosecutors to prove Holt was the driver, that the accident was his fault, and that he has criminal culpability for it (as in the Stracar decision). However, leaving the scene of an injury accident may be easier to prove and that is still potential prison time.

Repeat Offender Recklessly Injures Deputy on 441

Mazariegosorellana
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:
mazariegos-broward-1
mazariegos-broward-2
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.