AutoNation executive Elaine May of Pompano Beach, Florida was killed on March 20 in a Fort Lauderdale car crash.
According to Fort Lauderdale police, the crash occurred at NW 15th Avenue near Lockhart Stadium at 7:20 p.m. last Monday. May was driving a Nissan Maxima south when an Infiniti G35 traveling west on West Commercial Boulevard crashed into her vehicle. May died at the scene. It is unclear if the other driver was injured.
The driver of the Infiniti was reportedly identified as Ashley Rivera of North Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale police told news sources that charges against Rivera, 34, are pending the outcome of the crash investigation.
May had worked for AutoNation for over 18 years and was a manager in corporate real estate services at the time of her death. She is survived by her husband John May and their two daughters.
Marc Cannon, the executive vice president of communications at AutoNation, told the press that the company’s employees are raising funds for the education of May’s daughters, and AutoNation plans to match the amount raised.
Another crash was reported in Jupiter last Tuesday involving Shawn Charles Smith. Smith, 31, allegedly rear-ended a vehicle on the 100 block of West Indiantown Road and fled the scene. No one was injured in the crash.
Smith faces multiple charges including leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, failure to register a motor vehicle, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Jupiter resident was taken to Palm Beach County Jail and was released the following day after posting a $6,000 bond. Sources did not name an attorney for Smith.
The victims of the crash told police that Smith signaled that he was pulling over after the crash but instead drove away. The victims followed him to a place near South Old Dixie Highway, where he reportedly parked the vehicle.
According to the arrest report, when Smith saw that he was being tailed, he purportedly sped away south. The victims lost sight of him on Alternate A1A, but a detective later pulled him over for driving recklessly and speeding near Main Street and Central Boulevard.
The detective discovered that Smith’s vehicle was registered to another vehicle. Smith also reportedly admitted to having a syringe in his pocket which he uses to “inject marijuana.” A search of his vehicle revealed four more syringes and a powder that reportedly tested positive for amphetamines. He told police that he fled the scene of the crash because of fear.
Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, and Broward County rank the highest in Florida for hit-and-run car accidents. Hit-and-run crashes have reportedly risen by over 25% since 2013. More than 99,000 hit-and-run crashes were reported last year, compared to less than 77,000 in 2013.
While many of these types of accidents really are accidents (the driver may not be aware that they hit someone), many involve alcohol and drugs and lead to deaths. In 2016, 179 people where killed by hit-and-run drivers in Florida. Drinkers are encouraged to designate a sober driver or take a taxi rather than get behind the wheel after indulging.