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.

Jim Thompson (53) Killed in Car Wreck on SW 3rd at Lyons

Friends and family are mourning the loss of James Patrick Thompson. Mr. Thompson passed away in a car accident Saturday night at the intersection of SW 3rd and Lyons Road.
The crash report, prepared by Investigator Loudermilk of PBSO, indicated that Thompson was headed eastbound on Southwest 3rd street, approaching Lyons Road in the right turn lane approaching the intersection with Lyons.
A witness indicated “a high rate of speed and at least one flat tire, possibly two.” Thompson lost control of the vehicle, traveled through the intersection, and “violently collided with a traffic signal pole, and palm tree on the northeast corner of Lyons Road.”
Two readers sent us photos of the scene.

Reader photo of accident scene
Reader photo of accident scene

Next of kin were notified and we noticed many friends and family mourning their loss.
West Boca News sends our best wishes in this difficult time to all of them.

Dastjerdi Arrested Again for Aggravated Stalking

Update: Mr. Dastjerdi appeared in court on Wednesday. Prosecutors moved for pre-trial detention and the court granted that motion, meaning he will be held without bond. The case has been assigned to Judge Charles Burton.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that Dastjerdi targeted his former business partner, threatening to rape the man’s wife and blow up their house. Court records indicate the offense (or one of them) occurred in late November, with the case filed and warrant issued on December 9th.

According to website BocaBusted.com, former West Boca resident Ahmad Dastjerdi was arrested Tuesday on three counts of “Aggravated Stalking – Follow, Harass, Cyberstalk, Credible Threat to Person.”
We reported on Dastjerdi’s previous arrest for similar charges back in 2013.

Mugshot from 2013
Dastjerdi mugshot from 2013

Dastjerdi was convicted in early September and sentenced to 60 days in jail for harassing phone calls to his former neighbor in the Escondido community. In that trial the jury rejected the felony aggravated stalking charges.
Escondido is on the east side of Lyons south of Glades. Dastjerdi now lives in East Boca. He is a certified electrical contractor and owns a business called Remote Electric, Inc.
The Sheriff’s booking blotter shows, at this writing, that Dastjerdi remains in custody without bond.
In researching this story we noticed that someone purporting to be Ahmad Dastjerdi posted comments on a story we wrote in January of 2013 about a local tire store. These point to an Ahmad Dastjerdi Facebook page that contains comments similar to those he was accused of in the trial. We cannot verify if this is actually Dastjerdi.

Motorcyclist Killed Friday on Lyons Road

A collision Friday between a 2015 Cadillac and a 2012 Yamaha motorcycle claimed the life of Ara Kamciyan (age 27). Both drivers were residents of Timbers of Boca on the west side of Lyons Road south of Glades. The accident occurred at the entrance to the development.

Lyons Road at Escondido; image and map data by Google.
Lyons Road at Escondido; image and map data by Google.

According to police report Dolores McCabe (age 72) made a left turn into the neighborhood. Kamciyan was coming the other direction (southbound). As a result of the collision his head hit her windshield, and he was not wearing a helmet.
In the police description V-1 is McCabe’s car and V-2 is Kamciyan’s motorcycle:

V-1 was northbound on Lyons Road in the left turn lane. V-2 was southbound on Lyons Road in the outside through lane. V-1 turned into the path of V-2, resulting in the front of V-2 impacting with the passenger’s side of V-1 near the front. D-2 was ejected from his vehicle and him head impacted with the front windshield before he fell to the ground. D-2 was not wearing a helmet. He was transported to Delray Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Kamciyan co-owned a pool and spa business in Fort Lauderdale.
West Boca News reported the accident shortly after it happened on our Facebook page, thanks to a volunteer.
Ordinarily in a collision like this fault would be placed on the driver making the left turn. It is unfortunately common that drivers do not notice motorcycles. At the same time there may be other reasons the accident happened. The police report does not indicate fault.
On the legal side, Florida law is quirky when it comes to wrongful death cases. It may be difficult for the family to recover.

79-Year-Old in Critical Condition After Lyons Road Accident

We have learned some details about a serious accident that happened Saturday afternoon on Lyons Road near SW 14th Street. This is the intersection where Lyons meets the entrances to Crescent Lakes (on the east side) and Patios of Boca (west).

View northbound on Lyons looking at intersection with SW 14th.
View northbound on Lyons looking at intersection with SW 14th.

One of the drivers, 79-year-old Philip Eckstein of Crescent Lakes was critically injured when his car collided with another car driven by Jordan Trouf (29).
The Sheriff’s report appears to place blame on Mr. Trouf, though the facts indicate Trouf had right of way. This discrepancy is something the lawyers from Udall Shumway will need to look into if anyone is to make a personal injury claim. In the image at top of this article Trouf placed the blame on Eckstein in a post on his Facebook page.
Trouf was also injured as was Eckstein’s wife and passenger, Joan (75). All three were taken to Delray Medical Center.
According to the Sheriff’s report:

V1 [Eckstein] was traveling southbound on Lyons Road and began turning left onto SW 14th Street. V2 [Trouf] was traveling northbound on Lyons Road and was approaching SW 14th Street and V1. As the driver of V1 turned, he was unaware of the impending danger from V2, which was being driven faster than the 40 mph speed limit. During the crash, the front of V2 impacted into the right front of V1. Both vehicles were redirected onto the northeast shoulder of the intersection. The three parties were all transported to Delray Medical Center for medical treatment. The driver of V1 remains in critical condition.
Alcohol and narcotic impairment is considered a factor in the actions of the driver of V2 and toxicology is pending.

It is unclear from the report how the investigating deputy could know Trouf’s speed. The allegation of impairment is often made but difficult for the prosecution to prove. Also typical in these reports, it is unclear whether any of the occupants were wearing seatbelts.
Update: One of our readers pointed out another Facebook post Trouf made, which looks like it was roughly 12 hours before the accident:
He described himself as too tired to drive home and was considering sleeping in his car.
Earlier that night he noted that others were partying and he’d been working:
That seems to go against the police theory that he was impaired by alcohol or narcotics.
As one of Trouf’s friends suggested in a comment on his post, he would be well advised to get an experienced personal injury attorney who can handle both the criminal defense and personal injury issues that he will be facing. Personal injury lawsuits can be long and complex and therefore seeking out legal advice is always strongly recommended. The Sheriff’s brief report on the accident is below, with certain details omitted by us:
[gview file=”https://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/eckstein-trouf.pdf”]