According to news sources, the car crash occurred at around 8:30 a.m. on November 23 in the eastbound lanes of State Road 84, east of SW 148th Avenue in Davie.
The cyclists were members of a group called Cycling Family Broward. They regularly ride in the Davie area on weekends, although in much larger numbers. That Sunday’s ride began at 7:30 a.m. in Pembroke Pines and was to last for three hours, sources say.
Vanderweit, 33, was driving a Honda Fit in the same direction as the cyclists when she crashed into them. She later told police she was distracted by something, but she was unable to remember what.
“She admitted to being distracted with something in the passenger compartment of her car,” Davie Police Department spokesman Sgt. Mark Leone told the press. “That, coupled with the sun directly in her face from the east, caused or contributed to this fatal crash.”
Two of the cyclists, Carlos Rodriguez, 62, and Denise Marsh, 53, have died. Three others (Maria Bautista, 56; Edgar Reyes, 48; and John Beitz, 49) are in stable condition. Another rider, a 14-year-old, only scraped a knee and wasn’t hospitalized, police said.
Investigators say there were no signs that Vanderweit was impaired or speeding. She remained at the scene of the crash and cooperated with the police. She gave them consent to download crash data from her vehicle and gave them her mobile phone.
Records show Vanderweit has received two speeding tickets in the past six years. In 2012, she was cited for driving 85 mph in a 65-mph zone in Palm Beach County, and in 2014, she was cited for doing 45 mph in a 25-mph zone in Plantation. She pleaded no contest in both incidents.
Vanderweit released the following statement to Local 10 News:
“I am truly sorry that any of my actions led to the tragic events yesterday. My wholehearted condolence to Denise Marsha and her family. No words can express how sorry I am about your loss,” Vanderweit said. “Please know that if I could trade places with Mrs. Marsh, I would.”
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