LAUDERHILL

Sued driver in Lauderhill tow-truck fatality has been ticketed, fined

 

Court records show that the driver of the tow truck linked to the death of a Keiser University associate dean has a long record of traffic infractions and heavy fines.

ebrecher@MiamiHerald.com

The tow-truck driver involved in the incident that fatally injured a Keiser University associate dean has a long record of vehicle-related citations and felony arrests.

The dean, Elias Konwufine, 38, of Lauderhill, died Jan. 16, hours after he was run over by his own car as he pleaded with Kenneth Jay Schraff not to tow his car.

Since 2008, Schraff, 48, of Lauderdale Lakes, he been ticketed for failing to register a vehicle; failure to wear a seatbelt; failure to obey a traffic sign; improper tag; driving “too fast for conditions,’’ driving without lights, and failure to secure a load, according to court records.

He’s received at least four speeding tickets since 2005 — 84 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone, 47 in a 35 mph zone, 62 in a 40 mph zone and 79 in a 65 mph zone — and paid $2,510 in fines and fees, including a boating infraction.

Schraff also pleaded no contest to third-degree felonies in 2003 including burglary, larceny and grand theft, for which he received probation.

Schraff was initially identified as “John Doe’’ in a lawsuit filed Thursday, seeking more than $15,000 on behalf of Konwufine’s widow, Francisca and her three young children.

An amended complaint filed on Monday in Broward Circuit Court names Schraff, as well as Superior Lock & Roadside Assistance, Sure Fire Auto and Capitol Towing, interrelated companies.

A woman identifying herself as Schraff’s mother answered his home phone on Monday and said he wasn’t there, but had been told by his attorney “not to talk to anyone.’’

The suit alleges that Schraff was negligent when he drove away from Konwufine, as Konwufine tried to negotiate the return of his car, which had been parked partly on a swale in violation of a homeowners association rule.

He had parked there because a tutor for his autistic son had parked in the driveway.

The suit accuses Schraff of failing to maintain control of his vehicle, negligently accelerating and turning the wrecker so that it endangered Konwufine and failing to watch out for pedestrians.

The suit also accuses the interrelated towing companies of failing to investigate Schraff’s driving record and also failure to properly train him in Florida law regarding towing.

State law requires a wrecker driver to allow a vehicle’s owner to make a reasonable offer to settle the matter before the vehicle is towed away.

The lawsuit said that Schraff never gave Konwufine the chance.

Read more Broward stories from the Miami Herald

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