Mary Sczepanski of Deefield, Florida accidentally ran over Luciano Porto in a chirch parking lot on March 19, killing her, according to reports. Sczepanski, 88, remains out of custody as police continue to investigate the car accident. Police do not believe that medications or other substances were a factor in the crash. No charges have yet been filed, and it is not clear whether Ms. Sczepanski has preemptively retained a private criminal defense attorney.
Sources say that service had just ended at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, located at 380 S. Federal Highway, in Deerfield at around 9:50 a.m. and that churchgoers were heading home when the accident occurred. Sczepanski had gotten into her white 2007 Buick Century, which was backed into a disabled parking space, in order to drive home. When Sczepanski tried to take off, however, she allegely put the car in reverse by accident and hit the gas. The car sped over the curb stop behind her and onto the sidewalk, where it hit Porto and dragged her several feet on the lawn of the church before a fellow churchgoer intervened.
“[Sczepanski] backed up so fast, dragging the poor woman. A man came up and opened the door and put on the brake,” said one witness, who was selling soda outside of the church at the time of the accident. “[Porto] was being dragged underneath the car. I’ve never seen anything so horrible.”
“It was so terrible, when I saw her under the car, I had to turn away,” said another soda seller. “[Porto] was like a rag doll, limp, with her face in the ground.”
Emergency workers From the Broward Sheriff Fire-Rescue and Regional Team Rescue labored to free Porto from underneath the car, where she was pinned. Once she was freed, she was taken to North Broward Medical Center. She was pronounced dead shortly after.
Sczepanski stayed in her Buick for two hours as the Broward Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation into the car accident. Later, she was helped from her vehicle by the reverend of the church and a relative. The car sustained damage on its right side, but Sczepanski appeared to be unharmed.
Unfortunately, this is not the only fatal accident that happened in South Florida over the weekend. On Saturday, 14-year-old Brandon Campbell was killed when he was hit by a car at around 10:00 p.m. in Tamarac. The teen was reportedly riding his skateboard either on or near a crosswalk on Pine Island Road when the accident occurred. The 68-year-old driver who hit the teen, William Corsover, told police that he did not see Campbell in the darkness, but that he knew that his Honda Accord had hit something, so he turned around and went back to see what he had hit.
Campbell was transported to North Broward Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Corsover did not sustain any injuries, and no charges have yet been filed pending an investigation into the accident. A Broward Sheriff’s Office Homicide unit conducted a thorough investigation of the scene, and Corsover cooperated with authorities. It is not clear whether the boy’s parents plan on filing a wrongful death suit.