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At around 7 PM last Saturday, April the 28th, 2018 a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck collided with a minivan which had four passengers.
As of this report, the investigation shows that Paul Wilson Streater, a 21-year-old who lives in Fort Lauderdale, was traveling at a high speed on his pickup truck when he crashed into the rear end of a minivan in the Southbound part of the South Federal Highway. When the two vehicles collided, both traveled towards the northbound lane of the same highway until they hit a Buick Encore. All three cars stopped traveling in front of Enterprise Rent-A-Car where the minivan was seen to be stuck in the middle of the pickup truck and the Encore. Police had to use force to separate the vehicles in the car crash especially the minivan and the Silverado.
The third vehicle in the crash had two passengers and both got minor injuries. On the other hand, Paul Streater and his companion were brought to the hospital. Streater suffered a broken collarbone in the crash. However, the four people who were in the minivan were pronounced dead at the scene. The police identified them as Jorge Claudio, a 50-year-old male, Veronica Mariel Raschiotto his sister who is 42 years of age, and her two children, Diego Martinez Raschiotto (8 years old) and Mia Martinez Raschiotto (6 years old respectively).
According to Dave Goodwin, a witness who was at the scene as he heard the crash from his nearby home, the minivan looked as if it were a “small motorcycle in between the two vehicles.”
One employee of Delray Honda saw the scene when the pickup truck was speeding. It was presumed that the truck was traveling at 100 miles per hour.
Another witness claims that as the three cars stopped traveling, a lot of people went to help out the people inside the car. There were dozens who tried to reach the passengers. However, there was debris everywhere, described by some as almost looking like “a bomb.”
Around Sunday morning, the crash showed debris and blood still staining the road and nearby residents mourn the unfortunate fate of the family killed in the minivan. A destroyed headlight from one of the cars was found lying on the grass outside Quality Lighting and Accessories. Nearby residents offered flowers to pay respects and mourn for the family.
Although witness stories can be wrong, rest assured that the police are gathering all the information they can get as the investigation moves on.
Additional information was gathered and released by the Delray Beach Police stating that the collision took place at about 7:20 PM on the southbound lane of South Federal Highway further to the south of Linton Boulevard. Mr. Streater was driving at the velocity of 100 mph down the highway when he veered to avoid hitting other motorists. This was when he crashed into the rear of the minivan in the same southbound lane.
When the two vehicles collided, they would not split apart and together they skidded into the northbound lane of South Federal Highway where the Buick Encore was. The three automobiles then collided and they only stopped moving just when they reached Enterprise Rent-A-Car with the minivan already sandwiched by the two other vehicles. Police also reports that parts of the minivan were ripped apart from the collision.
According to the Delray Beach Fire Rescue, when they arrived at the scene, they had to use other tools to separate the vehicles. It also took them a lot of effort and time just to get to the four people in the minivan.
Even though there was speeding, there is still no proof that Streater was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the event.
Paul Wilson Streater, a 21-year-old male from Fort Lauderdale was claimed to be at fault in this incident. After sending him to the hospital for his collarbone injury, he was in police custody helping the investigation.
His lawyer, Samuel Halpern, says that “what we believe happened was an unintended acceleration caused by some sort of mechanical defect in the car. I’ve done research on this, I’ve seen that the Silverados have had complaints to NHTSA and the manufacturer over the years.” Because of this, Halpern will be sending letters of notice and the incident report to Chevrolet, the National Highway Safety Administration, and General Motors.
Samuel Halpern is also known as Streater’s lawyer for another case, where Streater was charged with burglary by the Fort Lauderdale police on November 9, 2017. Streater, together with some help, stole liquor containers, some tools, a pair of shades, and a television as stated in the report for burglary. As of today, the case on the second-degree felony is still on-going.
Although more investigation is needed to prove that there is indeed a defect in the Chevy Silverado model, Streater already claims that he had a hard time to control the speed of the car as it suddenly accelerated to a high speed. However, the police are still looking more into the details and facts of the collision to prove anything at this moment.
Halpern expressed the remorse felt by Streater saying that “this is devastating for him, it’s a life-altering experience for him. He is, absolutely, heart-broken for the people that were unfortunately killed. He could not be more remorseful.”
Halpern the goes to add that “it’s up to the police whether they want to pursue a criminal case for this accident or not. It’s a question of do they legally believe that he was violating a criminal statute as opposed to a civil infraction…Unfortunately, traffic accidents happen all the time and criminal charges are rare, and I would hope there are no criminal charges. If there are then we’ll deal with it.”
Paul Streater is now currently under a pretrial diversion program for a year.
As the investigation is still on-going, the Delray Beach Police are calling on witnesses who saw the whole incident – from the time the pickup truck sped and collided with the minivan until the three cars, along with the Encore, fully stopped. Delray Beach Police can be reached via Investigator Henry Lugo at 561-266-9191.