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.

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.
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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.

West Boca Man Killed in Flaming Car Accident

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Hernando “Joe” Nieto (46) has been identified as the man who was killed in an early-morning pickup truck fire. The accident occurred on Powerline Road just south of the county line in Deerfield Beach.
Mr. Nieto’s reported address is in the Banyan Lake community off Boca Rio, only a couple miles from the accident location. The accident led police to block southbound travel on Powerline from SW 18th for several hours.

Image from Google
Image from Google

From Broward Sheriff’s Office:

An early morning crash in Deerfield Beach left one man dead after his car jumped the curb and struck a tree in the median, bursting into flames.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Communications received the call around 3 a.m. Hernando Nieto was heading north in the 600 block of Powerline Road when he somehow lost control of the vehicle causing the accident. A visual inspection of Nieto’s black pickup and the scene revealed no signs that any other vehicles were involved in the crash. Nieto was unable to escape the burning vehicle.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue extinguished the fire and pronounced him dead at the scene.
BSO Traffic Homicide detectives are investigating.

Photo from BSO
Photo from BSO

We see no meaningful criminal history for Mr. Nieto in the three counties.

Dirty Inspection at Muddy Waters? Near Boca Inspection Report

muddy-waters
November was not a good month for the Muddy Waters Restaurant as far as inspections go. The inspector found a total of 30 violations including 6 marked “high priority”:

  • Dishwasher handled soiled dishes or utensils and then handled clean dishes or utensils without washing hands.
  • Employee failed to wash hands before putting on new set of gloves to work with food. Cook working with raw chicken and moving to other food glove change no hand wash.
  • Live flies in kitchen.
  • Nonexempt fish offered raw or undercooked has not undergone proper parasite destruction. Fish must be fully cooked or discarded.
  • Single-use gloves not changed as needed after changing tasks or when damaged or soiled.
  • Cook touch garbage by dish machine the continues to prep food no glove change.
  • Wiping cloth sanitizing solution bucket stored near/on/above food preparation surface or food.

Muddy Waters is on Hillsboro, just west of Military Trail, in Deerfield Beach. Second worst in this month’s “Near Boca” report goes to Gordo’s Grill on Sample Road in Margate.
No restaurant had what we consider a perfect inspection (callback inspections don’t count).
char-hut
The best in this report goes to the new Char Hut burger place on Sample in Coral Springs with just one minor violation in their licensing inspection. Others with good numbers include the popular Colombian restaurant Medellin near the northwest corner of 441 and Wiles Road (2 minor violations); the Panera on 441 near the southeast corner of the same intersection (3 minor violations); and a new place, The Grille at the Bridges, which appears to be for residents of that development and their guests (3 violations including 1 “high priority”). As if you didn’t already want to live there:

The Grille at The Bridges will offer amazing cuisine for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks at The Club, poolside and coming soon — home delivery.

Other notables near Boca in November include:

  • Jake’s Wayback Burgers – Coconut Creek (18 violations including 2 high priority and a warning)
  • Bru’s Room – Coconut Creek (15 violations / 3 high priority)
  • Santo’s Buffet – Coconut Creek (14 / 2)
  • Big Bite Bagel & Deli (new) – Coconut Creek (14 / 1)
  • La Bamba Mexican – Delray Beach (13 / 2)
  • NYY Steak in Seminole Casino – Coconut Creek (12/2)
  • Blue Agave – Parkland (9/2 with a paperwork warning)

As usual, our full spreadsheet for this report is below.
[gview file=”https://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/nearboca-11-30-14.xls”]

Fatal Accident Closes I-95 Between Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach

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Boca Raton Police reported early this morning that the northbound side of I-95 had been closed due to a fatal accident. From the report it was south of Palmetto Park Road so it would have affected traffic coming north from the Hillsboro interchange, Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach.
Google Maps traffic feature shows the road appears to be cleared as of this writing at 5:30 am.
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We will update this story if and when more information becomes available.