Paramedics didn’t realize victim of Broward tow truck accident was critically hurt

A Lauderhill professor who died in a towing incident initially didn’t seem badly hurt, a police report says.

02/04/2013 6:11 PM

02/04/2013 7:59 PM

Keiser University Associate Dean Elias Konwufine, who died Jan. 16 after being run over by his own car while a wrecker hauled it away, was still alive and talking and appeared only to have superficial injuries when police arrived at his Lauderhill home four minutes after an emergency call came in, according to an initial incident report.

Officer R. Pearlman wrote that Konwufine, a 38-year-old father of three, was lying in the street and “stated to the bystanders that he was having difficulty breathing. He turned to his side and lied (sic) on his side until Fire Rescue arrived...I observed only road rash on his legs and face.’’

Pearlman wrote that the first paramedics on the scene, from Lauderhill Fire Rescue, “advised there were no obvious or external signs of any life threatening injuries.’’

Sunrise paramedics took Konwufine to Broward Health Medical Center, where he died in surgery less than two hours later of “serious internal injuries,’’ Pearlman wrote.

Wrecker driver Kenneth Jay Schraff had been removing Konwufine’s 1999 white Mercedes-Benz C230 from in front of Konwufine’s house, on the 3800 block of Northwest 67th Way, because according to Sienna Greens homeowners association rules, it was illegally parked.

Konwufine had parked partly on the swale because a car belonging to his autistic 7-year-old son’s tutor, and another car, occupied the driveway.

Schraff, who has a long history of traffic infractions and criminal charges, told a reporter from Local 10 after the incident that Konwufine’s wife and 14-year-old son were “beating me on the back on back of my head and my back,” after Konwufine fell under the Mercedes.

But the incident report, which Lauderhill police sent to The Miami Herald on Monday, makes no mention of a physical attack on Schraff, who has been named in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Konwufine’s family.

The report says that Schraff, 48, of Lauderdale Lakes, “advised that after lifting the car, he was confronted by Elias. He stated that Elias kept yelling at him to drop his car and even attempted to open the door to his tow truck.

“After Elias was on the driver side of the tow truck toward the rear of the truck, Schraff stated that he attempted to drive away but Elias jumped on the truck trying to hold onto the tool box.

“He stated by the time he realized Elias was on the vehicle and tried to stop, Elias had fallen off and was run over by the front passenger side of the Mercedes, which was hooked up by the rear wheels.’’

Konwufine’s wife, Francisca, is suing Superior Lock & Roadside Assistance, Sure Fire Auto and Capitol Towing, interrelated companies, as well as Schraff, in Broward Circuit Court.

The suit accuses Schraff of failing to 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 says he violated a state law which requires a wrecker driver to give the vehicle owner the chance to pay a fee on the spot and reclaim the vehicle.

Francisca Konwufine told Lauderhill police that a neighbor alerted her that the tow truck was about to take her husband’s car, and “asked the tow truck driver not to tow the car. When Elias came outside he kept asking the driver not to tow the car. She advised the two got into a verbal argument and then the tow truck attempted to drive away,” the report said.

“She stated that Elias was holding onto the driver side rear passenger door for (sic) the tow truck when it was trying to drive away. She stated that Elias then fell off and was run over.’’

The report says that Francisca Konwufine “was very emotional,’’ and difficult to interview.

Police are still investigating the incident, and have not filed criminal charges.

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