Driver dead after crashing into nursing home
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida driver is dead after losing control of his vehicle and slamming into a nursing home, early Wednesday morning.
The crash occurred at about 1:30 a.m. at the Watercrest Care Center Nursing Home, near Northeast 167th Street and West Dixie Highway. Residents who live in the area said they heard the commotion. "I heard screeching of tires, but it was kind of odd because there's no skid marks on the road," said Candy Stewart. "Then I heard an explosion, like a transformer exploded, my dog barked, and I got up and went outside, but we didn't see anything. Maybe about 30 minutes later, that's when the police cars and everything showed up."
Authorities said Enrique Linares, 29, was traveling at about 80 mph, when his car struck the curb and went airborne, crash landing in between the first and second floor of the nursing facility. He died on impact.
Relatives of the driver arrived on scene visibly shaken. His wife was inconsolable. "That's my husband, please let me see him!" she told police as she collapsed on the floor.
Her cousin spoke on her behalf. "We love him dearly, and we're just asking everyone to pray that everyone inside the building is OK," she said.
"We were in the house and we heard an explosion and we ran out, it was nuts," said one man who heard the accident. "It was chaotic. People were running from all over the place."
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue transported four elderly patients from the nursing facility to an area hospital with minor injuries. All of them have been released and will be OK.
Nita Thomas' mother, 82-year-old Juanita Robeson, who suffers from dementia, lives in the nursing home and heard when the car struck. "I didn't realize that she would know anything," Thomas said. "But she told her sitter, Mary, that she heard a big bang."
It took several hours, but tow crews have since removed it. "The whole wing of the nursing home has been evacuated, and the investigation will continue for hours," said North Miami Beach Police Officer Armando Sotoro. "The last word that I got a few minutes ago is that they're all doing fine. The entire wing was evacuated, probably within an hour."
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, a tow company and North Miami Beach Police carefully devised a plan to remove the car. The car was pulled from the building at around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Crews are now working to repair the building so that residents can return to their rooms. Two main beams were shattered in the crash, causing serious damage to the structure.
Approximately 20 people had to be transferred to another wing of the nursing home while crews continue to work on repairs.
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