For months, delusions and voices tormented Scott Toth.
He suffered panic attacks and “severe reclusiveness.” He snipped electrical wires in his house to prevent anyone listening to his mind. Toth believed “water people” lived in his Broward home’s water supply.
His mind ravaged by “confusion, paranoia and memory loss,” the dementia-stricken Toth left home in the middle of the night in August 2011, drove the wrong way on Interstate 75 and crashed into another car — killing a Naples couple and their unborn child.
The sad chain of events led Miami-Dade prosecutors this week to agree that Toth, 55, was not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of vehicular homicide. Such agreements are rare, particularly in car-crash death cases.
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But a battery of expert evaluations and review of years of medical records showed that Toth was “unable to recognize that he was driving on the wrong side of the road,” according to a newly released State Attorney’s report.
Toth will not go to jail or a psychiatric facility. Instead, the Florida Department of Children and Families and the courts will ensure he receives treatment and stays away from driving.
“It was a tragic situation all the way around,” said Toth’s attorney, Peter Heller.
The two killed were Amauris Carralero, 38, and his wife, Nadia Tomasi, 37. She was 24 weeks pregnant with what would have been her third child.
That morning, a man named Pedro Tur was driving them to Miami so they could fly to Cuba. Toth’s gray Honda Accord plowed into them head on. On the scene, a severely disoriented Toth told a highway patrol trooper that he was driving to Naples but “did not know what happened.”
He did not appear to be drunk. Toth was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital with fractures to his leg and elbow. Six days later, Toth was committed to a psychiatric ward, not told the extent of the crash “due to his delirium and inability to process complex materials.”
For prosecutors, filing charges was a tricky decision.
There was more than enough evidence that Toth “willfully drove his vehicle” and drove “reckless and in wanton disregard for public safety,” prosecutor Eileen Keeley wrote in her final report.
In finally filing charges in February 2014, prosecutors realized that his conduct should be “dealt with in the context of a potential finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.” Toth agreed to turn over his medical records, which showed “serious mental issues” since at least 2007.
The exact details of his diagnoses remain secret under a federal privacy law.
In the months leading up to the crash, Toth’s mental state worsened. That morning, Toth “left his home in a state of disarray with no apparent purpose to his trip.” Prosecutors hired a doctor who agreed that the accident came “as a result of the defendant’s mental disease or defect.”
“Given the totality of the circumstances, we cannot proceed in good faith in an effort to prove that the defendant willfully or wantonly drove in a reckless manner,” Keeley wrote.