MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – An early morning accident along Collins Avenue in Miami Beach claimed the life of a 45-year old man.

Police spokesman Detective Juan Sanchez said around 1:30 a.m. the driver of a silver Mercedes SUV, 20-year-old Joao Paulo Escudero Mauro, was heading north on Collins at a high rate of speed when he suddenly swerved into the parking lane at 39th Street. According to Mauro’s arrest affidavit, he was doing more than 60 mph on a street where the posted limit is 30 mph.

“It did strike several parts of the curb before it jumped onto the sidewalk striking a pedestrian,” said Sanchez.

Forty five year old Russell Knudson, who said he just finished his shift at a nearby Carrabba’s Italian Grill, was loading his bike onto the back of a Toyota Camry when he was struck by the SUV.

Bruce Spizer said he was fast asleep in his room on the 10th floor of the Courtyard Miami Beach when he was awakened by a disturbing sound.

“I heard a horrific sound,” said Spizer, “And I thought to myself either I’m dreaming or that was one very serious automobile accident, a lot of sound of metal.”

joao paulo escudero mauro Brazilian Man Charged In Deadly Collins Avenue Crash

Joao Paulo Escudero Mauro (Source: Miami Beach Police)

After it struck Knudson, the SUV slammed into a light pole which toppled to the ground in front of a Toyota.

“It really sounded like metal on metal, I didn’t hear any breaks or anything,” said Spizer.

Neither the driver of the Toyota or the six people in the SUV was hurt.

A small bag of cocaine was found on the scene and Mauro’s arrest report said officers noted a “white powdery substance in his left nostril.” Mauro was given a breathalyzer test at the scene and then gave a urine sample at police headquarters.  During questioning, Mauro said he had been drinking earlier in the evening.  He also said he swerved to avoid hitting a vehicle which had stopped in front of him.

According to police, Mauro had on him a Brazilian state identification card which had an altered birth date which indicated that he was older than 21 years old.

Mauro has been charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, possession of a driver’s license with an altered date of birth and possession of cocaine.

Police said Mauro is from a wealthy family in Brazil and would be considered a flight risk if released on bail. The Brazilian Consulate was notified of his arrest.

Comments (28)
  1. Me says:

    No wonder they made a Grand Theft Auto video game based out of Miami Beach.

    1. Kay says:

      You truly make the most stupid comments on this site. There’s a dead person due to someone’s negligence and all you can comment on this is about a stupid video game!!!!!! Please do us all a favor, call your internet provider cancel that service, throw away your computer and stay quiet

      1. Samantha Silva says:

        Russell Knudson is my uncle and this rich Brazilian race car driver and his party crew should pay for the unexpected death that they have occurred on my family here in North Dakota. Hope fully the Brazillian government will give my 45 year old uncle a nice funeral, maybe ship him to North dakota where the rest of his family is at.

  2. Chucky... says:

    Kay, Me was just being a little frivilous. He really does make some astute comments on occasion; more than not. He’s a friend of the ‘board.

    The accident, although tragic, might not be as simple as someone’s negligence or as cliched as the writer’s usual reference to alcohol.

    If the driver wasn’t legally drunk, what substance then will be to blame?

    I hate that rush-to-judgment, knee-jerk mentality.

    1. Jane Doe says:

      I partly blame the white powder in his nostril. The same variety as what was found in the car after the accident. Then add alcohol to it and you are asking for trouble.

  3. ConcernedCitizen says:

    I just hope that his well to do family in Brazil find a way to get him out of the country before he can stand trial. The poor individuals in this country who work hard to satisfy the whims of the filthy rich that play there in south beach. We are just nothing to them. Poor little rich boy, who comes here and breaks our laws, should stand trial and serve his time here.

    1. ConcernedCitizen says:

      I meant do not find a way to get him out of this country.

  4. Fred Knox says:

    Throw the book at this piece of dirt. Maybe at MIA airport we should start putting up signs that say using drugs and excessive alcohol will cost you while ‘partying’ in Miami. Too many young South Americans think Miami is just another place where drinking and driving is an accepted custom. Not in the US.

    1. ConcernedCitizen says:

      Totally agree with you. Many of the South American youth, want to come here and party it up. What we should do is hold the clubs responsible. I they are foreign nationals and there is any questions, then no get in. But they don’t want to loose money either.

  5. Zappit says:

    Money talks in this city dude…especially those south americans that come to SB to party..They will find him a good attorney and in the best scenario, he’ll do a short time….It is not a surprise that with the home crisis in South Florida, those rich people from the south came to the rescue

  6. jane doe too says:

    he’s my friend, and he’s nothing liike this. im crying. cant believe this happened.

    1. MARIANO says:


  7. zONER says:

    Mariano, I feel for your loss. Lets hang this worm and let him swing.

  8. fe says:

    I am his best friend and it is not true about the cocaine! And about rich guys who comes there to party and bla bla.. We just give money to your country, a contry wich likes to kill inoccent people to get oill, making wars and stuff!!! It was a fatallity! He is a good person and ConcernedCitizen who are you to wish those things to guy that you don t even know???

    1. Nick Lopez says:

      stupid comments fe, and btw learn english please

  9. Fabio says:

    look, IN NO WAY do I feel that what he did should go unpunished, and I am Brazilian so I can tell you that it is typical of the Brazilian elite youth to have this belief of being allowed to do whatever they like just because they come from money, but, in this situation it is obvious that he made a mistake that he will forever regret. He is a kid who made a childish mistake, and I can guarantee that he will suffer enough the way it is, regardless of whether he goes to jail for 5 or 30 years, in Brazil or in America, his life has been changed forever. I just ask you all to understand that he is not a monster, he is just a kid who made a terrible mistake which he will pay a very high price for. My feelings are with the poor man who unfortunately had to suffer from the mistake of another, his friends and loved ones, I am very sorry for your loss. I truly hope that this serves as a wake up call for this rebellious Brazilian elite youth that I was once part of, may a terrible thing like this never occur again.

  10. Braziillian citzen says:

    I’m a brazillian citizen and i used to know JP . I think that he deserves severe punishment in the United States. Most of the young rich brazillians think that they can do whatever they want just because of their money and status. That was what JP Mauro was doing in Miami…speeding and using drugs totally unecessary.

  11. Heywhats Thebuzz says:

    He better serve his time right here in America. You see I am part of Russel’s family, I knew him before I started dating his sister and we have Nieces and Nephews here wondering why some idiot ran him over and killed him. His brother is still down there and trying to figure out where we will burie him. Its no joke this guy will pay for his death and if his parents don’t like it tell them to come here to North Dakota we will have something to say to his face.

  12. ana c says:

    I am from Brazil and work for his family. They could be rich as everybody said before, but they are very nice and honest people who are destroyed by this accident and the death of an innocent.JP is a good kid!So maybe it is time to not judge and try to find a way to avoid this sadness with innocent people in the future! Brazilians are happy people who like to party, I agree. We also help South Florida emerged from the financial crisis so let’s not judge a whole country by one single person. Let’s make youth change! He is a good kid for sure and I wish him peace

  13. Luis bonilla says:

    Joao you just became Bubba’s girlfriend.

  14. hotguy372 says:

    First of all, the drugs weren’t his, they where from a girl in the car he met that night… The white powder in his left nostril was chalk from the airbag… His toxicological exams came back negative for any drugs and his blood alcohol levels were in the legal limit to drive a car…

    1. mylistener says:

      so what caused him to hit two cars, a lamp post and kill a man?

  15. Aline says:

    In the end it doesn’t matter if he’s Brazilian..American black white yellow….he committed a crime and he needs to pay for his actions…next time buddy don’t drink and drive…if the powder wasn’t yours don’t let anyone in your car with that…regardless if he was sober or not….he killed someone that’s enough to be charged in this country… don’t you know the laws???

  16. junc in trunk says:

    It is a shame more lawyers are not killed while putting bikes in their trunks.

  17. fe says:

    Zilbra you are the perfect example of a stupid and prejudiced american!thats why EUA is not the same country! You forget that EUA is always killing innoccent people to steal oil always pretending other reasons and making wars and that kind of things! So for the world disgusting are not the EUA, but a lot of people like you ZILBRA who lives there in EUA! People like you ZILBRA make EUA disgusting and most hypocrita country in the world!

  18. fe says:

    Aline, when you drive someone to any plane you suggest first check pockets, bags etc!!! Very clever!

  19. Paula says:

    Please stop talking about Brazilian people this way…this is a discriminative treatment. I’m Brazilian and I used to travel a lot to USA because I like your country. JP Mauro deserves severe punishment as an irresponsible young adult (I don’t think he is a kid) and I’m really really sorry about the guy who died. Let’s pray for him and his family… They’ve lost a member of the family in a tragic way. But I’m begging you not to judge a whole country by one single person’s horrible mistake. Brazilians are nice people, we work a lot, we pay our bills and we deserve respect as North American and all citizen in the world do.

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