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Jorge Escalante Killed in Hit-and-Run; Edward Thomas of Deerfield Beach, Florida Arrested

Edward Thomas of Deerfield Beach, Florida was arrested for allegedly crashing into 29-year-old Jorge Escalante and fleeing the accident site, news sources report. Escalante reportedly died as a result of the crash. Thomas, 30, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on charges of driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injuries. It was unclear whether he qualified for bail. No defense attorney has yet spoken on Thomas’s behalf.

According to reports, the accident occurred around 3:00 Sunday morning in the 800 block of West Sample Road. Escalante was reportedly attempting to cross the street from the north to south side at the time; it is unclear whether the victim was using a crosswalk. As Escalante was crossing, Thomas approached in his 1995 Toyota Camry and struck him, sources indicate. Reports say Thomas fled the scene following the accident. Escalante purportedly died at the crash site.

Traffic Homicide detectives investigating the scene reportedly found a rear-view mirror from the driver’s side of a car. Police located a matching vehicle in Highland Park of Pompano Beach on Friday, sources indicate. Sometime later, detectives received a call from Thomas. After a police interview, Thomas was arrested. It remains to be seen whether his sentence will be reduced due to the fact that he came forward.

While many of South Florida’s accidents occur on the road, its close proximity to the ocean means some of its crashes occur on the water. Earlier this summer, Broward County boater Michael Gunther was apprehended after he allegedly intentionally hit another boat, injuring two of its occupants, then fled the scene, sources report. Gunther, 48, was taken to the Broward County Main Jail on charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving damage, boating under the influence, and DUI with property damage. He later bonded out on $5,000 bail. It is not currently known how his case is progressing.

Reports say the accident happened in the ocean near the Sands Motel on North Riverside Drive, which is located in Pompano Beach. A boat captain’s meeting was taking place at the motel, and some of the attendees were outside the motel on their own vessels. During the meeting, Gunther drove out of the Intracoastal Waterway and tried to dock nearby. A meeting attendee reportedly asked Gunther to turn his music down. Gunther then reportedly “gunned his boat throttle and [intentionally] rammed the victim’s boat” before driving off. The impact threw two people in the victim’s boat to the floor, injuring them, sources indicate.

According to reports, Gunther drove to a boat ramp off Northeast 14th Street, where he exited the vessel and climbed into his truck. As Gunther was attempting to drive away, he was pulled over by a police officer. During the stop, the officer reportedly observed that Gunther appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Gunther was arrested after he allegedly failed a sobriety test. It is not clear whether his blood alcohol content was recorded. It is also not clear how the partied injured in the crash are faring.

Source: 9.11 Thomas Crash.pdf

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