A Lauderdale Lakes man was responsible for a January car crash that killed four family members when their vehicle went off the interstate and into a lake in Deerfield Beach, the Florida Highway Patrol concluded this week.
Romial Romeus, 37, was issued a traffic citation for careless driving after the FHP determined that his Nissan Altima sideswiped a Hyundai Sonata which then struck the Lexus sport utility vehicle, forcing it off Interstate 95 and into the water on Jan. 2, according to an FHP release.
Killed were Nadege Theodore, her daughter Lyne Theodore, her nephew Guivens Daverman, and her step-sister Standalie Jean-Baptiste.
Sgt. Mark Wysocky, the spokesman for FHP, on Tuesday said that after a lengthy investigation “there was nothing to substantiate any criminal charges.”
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“It was a traffic accident,” he said.
Theodore and her family were driving home from a shopping trip at Town Center at Boca Raton Mall. They were in a southbound lane of I-95 south of Hillsboro Boulevard when the SUV veered off the highway, crashed through a chain-link fence and plunged into a lake.
Nadege Theodore, her nephew and stepsister were found shortly after the crash. Daverman, 16, and Nadege Theodore, 37, were pronounced dead at the hospital.
The body of Lyne Theodore, 15, wasn’t found until the next morning when family alerted police that she, too, was in the car. Jean-Baptiste, 20, died several days later in the hospital.
At the time of the accident, Romeus told The Miami Herald that he did not know a car had plunged into the lake. He could not be reached Tuesday.
The driver of the Hyundai, Marcelo Mario Costa, 38, of Fort Lauderdale was not charged.
About two weeks after the crash, hundreds of family members and friends gathered at a Fort Lauderdale church to say goodbye to the crash victims in a joint memorial.
Many students and teachers from Blanche Ely High School — where both Lyne and Daverman were sophomores — filled the church.
Lyne was remembered as an excellent student in the school’s medical magnet program and wanted to be a nurse. Daverman, on the school’s football and track teams, was always the life of the party, friends said.
Jean-Baptiste graduated from Broward College in 2012 and dreamed of becoming an anesthesiologist.
Nadege Theodore, a certified nursing assistant, was remembered as a great mother who worked hard to provide for her children. She left behind an 8-year-old son, Deemily Charles.
When reached Tuesday by phone, Duly Charles, Deemily’s father, said he hadn’t yet heard that another driver had been given a citation.
“That is good to hear,” he said, adding that the family has been waiting for police to hold someone responsible for the terrible accident.
Romeus will have to appear before a Broward Judge April 9. He faces up to $1,000 fine, up to a year suspension of his driver’s license and possible community service hours, Wysocky said.
According to court records, Romeus has three other minor infraction including, one that is still pending: he was ticketed for driving at night without his lights on.