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Nicholas James Castelao of Hialeah, Florida Arrested for Grand Theft

Nicholas-James-Castelao-300x169Nicholas James Castelao of Hialeah, Florida was arrested on March 28 after he allegedly crashed a stolen BMW into a Lyft driver’s car, killing Robert Torra and injuring five others.

Castelao, 35, faces charges for grand theft of a vehicle and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute after he was reportedly found with three small bags of what police think is crystal meth in his pockets. He is being held at the Pre-Trial Detention Center. News sources did not say if he has acquired the services of an attorney.

According to the arrest report, the crash occurred last Sunday at SW 17th Street and SW 25th Avenue in Miami. Torra, a Lyft driver, was driving his Volkswagen Jetta with four passengers aboard when his vehicle was hit head-on by a BMW.

Torra was killed in the crash. His passengers, whose identities have not been disclosed, suffered injuries that range from broken bones to head injuries. Miami Fire Rescue told news sources that all the injured victims were between 25 to 35 years of age. They were all taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center along with Castelao and his passenger. It is still unknown whether the injured parties or Torra’s family will attempt to acquire compensation.

Medical personnel at Jackson Memorial Hospital went through Castelao’s belongings during the check-in process after the crash and reportedly found three bags of crystal meth in the pocket of his shorts. Along with the bags, medical personnel also found two Chase credit cards and a food stamps credit card that doesn’t belong to Castelao. All the items went into evidence.

Police are still investigating the crash and so far no fault has been determined in the crash. It is unclear if Castelao was under the influence of crystal meth at the time of the crash, and no one has been charged for the car crash. The details of the auto theft that preceded the car accident are not currently publicly known.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragic accident,” a Lyft spokesperson told the press. “We have been in contact with Robert’s family during this unimaginably difficult time, and are available to support law enforcement in their investigation.”

Torra is survived by a wife and four kids. His family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses. A group of Lyft drivers from the area have also created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for expenses.

Possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver is much more severe than a simple drug possession charge. It is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and a 3-year minimum mandatory sentence also applies if the incident occurs within 1000 feet of a church, school, or other protected area.

Grand theft is defined as the intentional and unlawful taking of property valued at between $300 and $20,000. Third-degree grand theft is the most common grand theft charge in the state. Like all third-degree felonies, it is punishable by up to five years in prisons and/or five years probation, and $5,000 fine.

Source: 3.28.17 Castelao Grand Theft.pdf