Dr. Malcolm Lloyd and his wife had a charmed life in New York. The couple met on a train. They married in 2010. He doted over her. One fond birthday memory: he brought her fresh-squeezed orange juice, breakfast in bed and they took their sons to the circus.
“That was the best birthday of my life” Solange Lloyd told a judge on Friday.
But many of her memories now are painful. Solange Lloyd remembered the day she got the call that her husband, who owned a successful vodka company, was killed in a high-speed Lamborghini crash on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami Beach.
Her voice cracked as she told the story. Many people in the courtroom cried, including a woman shackled in the defendant’s box on an unrelated case.
“I can still hear myself screaming. The sky was so blue. It was a gorgeous spring day. So still ... My insides were on the floor,” Solange Lloyd cried.
Solange Lloyd’s moving words to a judge came during the sentencing Friday for Andres Esteban Toro, 55, the Coconut Grove businessman who was behind the wheel of the high-octane sports car on April 24, 2014. He pleaded guilty, and agreed to spend the next four years in prison for DUI manslaughter, plus complete another year on house arrest and five on probation.
“I stand here weak, nauseous, broken and changed forever,” Solange Lloyd told Circuit Judge Richard Hersch. “I am simply trying to breathe to accept the reality of why we are here in this courtroom today.”
Lloyd graduated from Johns Hopkins and earned a medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School. He began a successful company called Old Nassau Imports and a vodka brand called Double Cross Vodka.
The investment firm Goldman Sachs twice named Lloyd as one of the top 100 innovators in the country, and he had been featured in numerous lifestyle magazines over the years.
For his academic achievements and his business acumen, Lloyd had been affectionately referred to by friends and business associates as “Dr. Vodka.” Long after he finished his higher education, Lloyd remained a consultant at the bio-engineering school at Johns Hopkins, and created a company that funded student projects in medical engineering.
Lloyd, of New York City, had flown to Miami to meet with his friend Toro, who was interested in investing in the vodka company.
Zooming across the causeway at over 100 miles per hour, Toro plowed the high-octane car into an idle SUV at the red light at Palm Island. The wreck killed Lloyd and seriously injured the driver of the truck, Raul Alfonzo, a personal trainer.
Miami Beach police said Toro had a blood-alcohol level of .173 — more than double the legal limit — more than 40 minutes after the wreck.
The case dragged on for two years as the wealthy businessman hired high-powered lawyers Roy Black, Mark Shapiro and David O. Markus.
Solange Lloyd sued, and later settled with Toro for an undisclosed sum. Behind the scenes, according to a prosecutor’s memo, his lawyers sought to convince the State Attorney’s Office to keep him out of jail.
“One of the defendant’s colleagues even reached out to Mr. Lloyd’s wife to try to get her to the tell the State Attorney’s Office to waive the minimum mandatory prison sentence,” prosecutor Laura Adams wrote in the memo.“This was obviously a terrible imposition upon Mrs. Lloyd.”
Black and the legal team presented a “remarkable number of letters” on behalf of Toro, who even offered a “significant financial donation” to the Camillus House homeless shelter if he could stay out of jail. The lawyers even met personally with State Attorney Katherine Fernandez.
She declined to waive the minimum prison sentence: 4 years in prison. Finally on Friday, Toro took the deal instead of risking up to 16 years behind bars if he lost at trial.
Toro himself suffered extensive head trauma and spinal injuries in the crash and will likely get shoddy care while behind bars, Black said.
“This is a man who never intended to commit a crime,” Black told reporters. “Realistically, this is a fair resolution.”