Police charge driver in fatal car wreck on MacArthur Causeway

04/24/2014 9:07 AM

04/25/2014 1:05 PM

Malcolm Lloyd, a man affectionately known as “Dr. Vodka” for his scholastic achievements and skill at starting up a libation company, was killed early Thursday morning in a horrific car crash on the MacArthur Causeway.

Lloyd was a passenger in a 2012 Lamborghini that police and witnesses say was traveling from Miami Beach toward the mainland at more than 100 miles per hour when it plowed into an SUV that was stopped at a red light near the entrance of Palm Island, Miami Beach police said.

The driver of the sports car, Andres Esteban Toro, and the man driving the SUV, Raul Alfonzo — who was on his way home to Sweetwater after a shift at a Miami Beach restaurant — were hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical but stable condition.

Toro was charged with vehicular homicide and if the toxicology reports come back positive, he will be charged with DUI manslaughter, law enforcement officials said.

The 2:50 a.m. accident, which lifted the heavy Chevrolet Suburban off the ground and propelled the Lamborghini into the air more than 100 yards from the crash site, shut down a stretch of the MacArthur for more than 10 hours, and caused backups on the Venetian and Julia Tuttle causeways, the two nearest connectors from Miami Beach to the mainland.

The crash happened near where a similar tragedy claimed the life of former University of Miami football player JoJo Nicolas in February. His Lexus slammed into and lodged under a tractor-trailer on the causeway as he was heading to the mainland.

Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez called a recent spate of crashes on causeways around town — one on the Rickenbacker took another life last weekend — just coincidence.

“It’s a busy street,” Hernandez said of the MacArthur. “And remember, Miami Beach doesn’t sleep.”

Miami-Dade records show Toro, 53, was charged with five moving violations in the past three years, including failure to stop at a light and disobeying a stop sign. The violations were either dismissed or Toro pleaded no contest.

Sources familiar with the crash investigation said Lloyd and Toro were returning home after a night at the Versace Mansion, the historical Ocean Drive manse once owned by designer Gianni Versace, who was shot and killed on its front steps almost two decades ago. The ornate villa reopened as a luxury hotel and club last month.

Miami-Dade records show Toro lives at the Grovenor House on Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove, an exclusive condo facing Biscayne Bay and built by developer Ugo Colombo.

Glen Z. Goldberg, an attorney representing Alfonzo, whose SUV was hit from behind, said his client is in “really bad shape,” and that he’s not certain “how he is alive.” Alfonso’s wife was at his bedside Thursday.

Lloyd, 42, received a degree in engineering from Johns Hopkins and a medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School. He created Old Nassau Imports in 2005 with his grandfather, who had been in the industry for more than 30 years.

By 2008, Lloyd set out on his own and started a company called Double Cross Vodka. Living in New York City, Lloyd has been featured in numerous lifestyle magazines in recent years.

He told Haute Living in 2011 that he found “an incredible master distiller” in the Terra Mountains of Slovakia, from where he imports his mid-priced vodka. In 2012, Lloyd was honored by Goldman Sachs as one of the top 100 innovative entrepreneurs in the country.

On his Facebook page, Lloyd is seen displaying a bottle of Double Cross vodka, posing with a Ford GT, and surrounded by a handful of models.

Thursday afternoon, a Double Cross spokesman declined to comment.

Miami Herald staff writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.

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