Car Slams Into Family Walking Back To Hotel

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DANIA BEACH (CBSMiami) – An investigation is underway after a driver hit a family as they walked back to their hotel in Dania Beach.

This happened Sunday around 8 p.m. in the 2500 block of southwest 42nd Street.

At last check, three of the seven family members were being treated at Broward Health.

This accident took place just hours before a memorable family vacation was supposed to begin.

In the darkness Sunday evening, Broward Sheriff’s investigators worked to uncover the reason the driver of a Chevy truck plowed into several members of a family of seven while they were walking along Southwest 42nd Street in Dania Beach, not far from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

Witnesses told detectives the driver was speeding.

The family that was hit, the Wensel and Leota families, are from Utah and were expecting to leave on a cruise Monday.

“Their lives were changed in an instant,” said Mike Jachles with Broward Fire Rescue.

CBS4 has learned the family ate at the Rustic Inn restaurant to celebrate Raquel Leota’s birthday and decided to bypass a shuttle back to their hotel, instead opting to walk.

For some reason the driver of the truck lost control of his car, crossed from the southbound lanes into the northbound lanes and hit the family.

“They were on a wide grass shoulder well off of the roadway,” Jachles said. “You wouldn’t think it’s possible for a car to strike them, especially coming the other direction.”

But it did happen.

Late Monday the family of the victims established a GoFundMe page, asking for help with medical bills.

On the page, they wrote:

“Raquel suffered the most, her foot completely severed from her leg. The damage is irreparable and Raquel will need to receive a prosthetic.”

Another family member is also in intensive care with a concussion, a foot fracture and bruised lungs.

This family is now left to recuperate instead of spending valuable quality time together while detectives work to understand what happened to cause the crash.

“They are considering alcohol impairment and speed as contributing factors but it is an ongoing investigation,” said Jachles.

CBS4 has learned that the driver of the truck that hit the family suffered injuries also and was treated and released at the hospital.

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