Three months after a fire engulfed Carlos Molina and his two passengers on Interstate 95, the Uber driver died from his injuries, his family has announced.
A Mercedes-Benz had driven into the path of a fuel tanker truck on a section of the highway in Delray Beach in October, causing the truck to veer into the inside shoulder and flip on its side.
Molina had swerved to avoid the two vehicles and ended up slamming into the median wall, while fire from the fuel engulfed his car and the other two vehicles. The impact of Molina’s car crashing into the median knocked a light pole onto the highway, hitting two more vehicles.
The chain reaction crash left five people hospitalized, three in critical condition. All three were in Molina’s car.
Molina, 62, had been placed in intensive care at Jackson Ryder Trauma Center in Miami after suffering severe burns on his face and body, according to the GoFundMe his family had set up to pay for medical costs.
“My dad fought this battle with so much strength and courage. He left a huge mark in so many lives and life will never be the same without him,” his daughter wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Robert Hall, of Boca Raton, the driver of the Mercedes, received a citation for an improper change of lane and pulling out in front of a vehicle going in the same direction, while Edward Vazquez, of Davie, the driver of the fuel tanker, received a citation for failing to obey a traffic control device, according to the Florida Highway Patrol crash report. Both are contesting those citations in court.
Molina was in the middle of a lawsuit against Hall and Alliance Residential, the real estate company which employed him, when he died, according to Palm Beach County court records.
The case will now be amended into a wrongful death suit, his attorney, Michael Lotto, said Tuesday, and Molina’s wife and children will seek damages instead.
Molina’s two passengers were Bryan Aparicio, a Broward Sheriff’s Office firefighter, and his girlfriend, Sui Hninyi. They also suffered severe burns, according to the crash report.
Aparicio had managed to exit the car before going back in to save his girlfriend, Eric Solera, a fellow firefighter and friend of Aparicio’s, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel in October.
Hninyi was hospitalized with third-degree burns and couldn’t walk for weeks, but is slowly recovering, Solera said in a December update to the GoFundMe page he created for Aparicio, while Aparicio has been recovering from second-degree burns. Both will have to avoid sunlight for at least a year while their skin heals, the update said.
Aparicio and Hninyi each filed separate lawsuits with the same attorney against Hall, Vazquez, Alliance Residential and CWC Transportation, the fuel transportation company for which Vazquez was driving the tanker, each seeking over $200,000.
The complaints claim that Hall and Vazquez negligently operated their respective vehicles, resulting in the crash, while their companies are vicariously liable. Vazquez had driven the fuel tanker truck in a restricted lane, the complaints allege, a violation of Florida law.