FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Plantation woman who was involved in a deadly crash last March which claimed the life of a pregnant woman has been charged.
On Wednesday, police charged Rosa Rivera Kim, 34, with two counts of DUI Manslaughter and two counts of DUI Property Damage. Recently released blood alcohol tests show Kim’s level was .24%, three times over the legal limit.
On March 18th, police say Kim slammed into the poolside cabana at the Riverside Hotel off Las Olas Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale. Alanna Demella, who was seven-months pregnant and visiting from Boston, was killed. Demella’s husband, Michael, was also in the cabana. He suffered minor injuries.
According to the warrant, Kim told investigators she was at Mango’s Restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard with her husband. She ordered a “martini and appetizers.” But Kim said the couple “got into an argument” and she left before finishing her food and drink.
Kim reportedly told police she spoke to her husband in the parking lot of the restaurant, then “sped off.” The warrant says an unnamed witness told investigators Kim was traveling “at a much greater speed” than the 25 mile per hour speed limit on SE 4th Street.
A block and a half from the restaurant police say Kim slammed into the cabana. At the time, Kim told police she did not remember the crash.
People who live and work near the accident scene told CBS 4 News there used to be a stop sign on SE 4th Street half-a-block from the crash scene. Faint markings on the road where a line was painted for vehicles to stop remain.
Valerie Pool has lived in the area for years. She said speeding has been a problem. She believes if the stop sign had been in place the crash may not have happened.
Broward County transportation officials said the stop signs on 4th Street were never ordered by the county. Ed Davis, Interim Director of the Traffic Engineering Division, said it appears an outside group put the signs up. Davis said the signs were removed after a traffic study was conducted in the area.
“The signs are not warranted,” he said.
The Demella’s won a trip to South Florida through their church. They attended a marriage conference and decided to stay in Fort Lauderdale an extra day.
People lounging around the pool when the car barreled into the pool area and slammed cabana tried to help.
Joanne Gordon and her husband ran to the cabana and saw Michael Demella come out of the men’s room just feet away from his wife.
“He was just saying my wife’s in there, why did this happen, why did this happen?” said Darren Gordon.
The Gordons and other hotel guests tried to reach the Demella.
“We all converged trying to rip some of the debris apart to get to the woman. I think it was too late,” said Gordon.
Mike Riemondi took her pulse and told CBS4 News he believes she was killed instantly.
According to CBSBoston.com, Demella was a third grade teacher’s assistant who worked with special education students at an elementary school in Arlington, Mass. On her Twitter page she described herself as “a wife, teacher and follower of Jesus.”
Pastor Michael Davis said the couple had won the trip because of Demella’s dedication to her faith.
“I had people write how would this be a blessing to their marriage,” Davis said. “The way Alanna had written — she was so excited about her marriage. They wanted one last vacation before their son came.”