MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A 46-year-old man who survived a horrific crash on the MacArthur Causeway after police say his vehicle was struck by a speeding drunk driver is speaking about the accident for the first time, saying “I am alive because God gave me another chance.”
In an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, Raul Alfonzo said, “This situation, now I realize that it was a really bad accident. I am alive because God gave me another chance with my wife and with my daughters for me.”
It was the first time Alfonzo has granted an on camera interview since the accident on the MacArthur Causeway that left him with herniated discs, a fractured sternum, amnesia and he also needed surgery for stomach bleeding.
For the first time, Alfonzo looked at videotape from the collision that nearly took his life on the Causeway at Fountain Street.
“It’s awful, oh,” he said, as he sat with his wife Yinet Pachecho and Glen Goldberg, a prominent attorney who has taken this case and who has filed a lawsuit against the driver of the Lamborghini that police say struck Alfonzo.
Goldberg said, “This is one of the worst accidents I’ve seen in my 40 years as a personal injury lawyer. “
Alfonzo was overwhelmed by the images, which were first broadcast by CBS4 on Wednesday. He watched the videotape on a TV screen inside Goldberg’s law firm on Friday. The tape had been released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. The video was captured by a security camera on Miami Beach during the early morning hours of April 24th.
The tape captured the lights of the Lamborghini that slammed into Alfonzo’s Chevrolet Suburban while he was sitting at a red light. His vehicle lifted up in to the air and a witness said he saw a “big cloud of smoke.”
Alfonzo told D’Oench, “Honestly, it was, I can’t believe it. On this day I realized the situation was the worst thing because the cops told me my vehicle went 400 feet after the crash. I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe it because I didn’t know how bad the accident was. At the moment, I felt bad. I felt really bad. At that moment, I realized I was alive.”
Alfonzo said he never saw the car coming.
According to documents from the State Attorney’s Office, days after the accident, he told police what he could remember.
“I got to a light,” he said. “The light was red. I stopped. Four, five, six seconds passed. Then I totally blacked out. I don’t remember anything until I woke up at the hospital.”
In an interview with police hours after the accident, witness Adrian Valella said, “The car lifted up into the air and a big cloud of smoke and dust and all that stuff, glass. I lost sight of the Lamborghini and the car was all messed up. A Lamborghini drove by us really fast and like 100, 120 miles per hour.”
Valella was in the car with two other friends who told police similar stories.
“All of a sudden, a Lamborghini comes on the left side going very, very fast. Easily over 100 miles per hour in our eyes,” said witness Nikolas Obrenovic.
In the past two and a half months, Goldberg said Alfonzo has seen six doctors and has been to three rehabilitation facilities. It’s not known when he might be able to return to his work as a personal trainer and security guard. He may need physical therapy for a long time.
“The accident in this case is so enormous that the community has had an up swell in discussion about the case,” said Goldberg. “Wherever we go people want to know what happened in this Lamborghini case. His car was hit by a vehicle going 120 miles per hour. It went 400 feet and flipped three or four times. He is so lucky to be alive.
“Raul Alfonzo’s injuries are quite severe,” said Goldberg. “Beside the herniated discs, the concussion, the amnesia, he’s had internal surgery for bleeding in his abdomen. He’s got a fractured sternum. His life revolves around seeing doctors and rehabilitation facility visits all day. He’s simply a shell of a man that he was before this accident. The anxiety, the concussion, the neurological problems are the word things one can imagine.”
Investigators said Andres Toro, 53, was driving the Lamborghini. His passenger, Double Cross Vodka founder Dr. Malcolm Lloyd, 42, did not survive the crash.
Toro has pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI manslaughter and DUI with serious Bodily Injury, DUI damage to Property/Persons and Reckless Driving with severe injury.
If convicted, Toro could face up to 21 years in prison.
Toxicology results shows his blood alcohol level was .173, more than twice the legal limit.
Previously released court records show Toro, Lloyd and a unidentified couple eating and drinking on April 23rd at Casa Tua on Miami Beach.
Food and drink receipts obtained by CBS show the group brought 20 alcoholic drinks that night. The first receipt at 11:00 p.m. showed them ordering $19 cocktails. Then the group ordered food and more alcohol.
“The group had five margaritas, four shots of vodka, nine beers and three shots of tequila,” said Goldberg. “Then they went to the Versace mansion where they had more drinks before hitting my client. You know this is not just a local problem to Miami or the state of Florida. This is a national problem. We have this obsession and with drinking and speeding.”
“We can’t do that,” said Goldberg. “This has got to stop now. We can’t risk our families and the people in Dade County and the state of Florida every day having serious injuries, maybe not as severe as Mr. Alfonzo but this happens every day. People have to be accountable for their actions. This drinking and driving has to stop. That’s why our law firm for many years has been working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.”
Goldberg and the attorney for the Lloyd family, Ervin Gonzalez, have filed suit against Toro.
“I also want to send my condolences today to the Lloyd family,” said Goldberg.
Casa Tua declined to comment about the video from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office showing the group drinking.
Attorney Gonzalez said the video showed how inebriated Toro was.
“It is certainly reckless and criminal for mr. Toro to have been driving after drinking so much alcohol,” said Gonzalez. “A driver of a car is like a captain of a ship and is responsible for the safe passage of passengers and all around him.”
Toro’s attorney did not respond to calls for comment about the Casa Tua video.