Broward County

He drank rum, sped, crashed and killed his passenger, cops say. He’s charged with DUI.

Avelino Fonseca
Avelino Fonseca Broward Sheriff's Office

His passenger begged him to slow down as they sped through Hollywood’s Young Circle.

But the driver, Avelino Fonseca, who police say drank rum straight from a bottle before getting behind the wheel, didn’t listen.

Instead, Fonseca crashed his red Mazda 3 into an old Publix store, killing his backseat passenger, Jayson Senesca, 24, police said in an arrest report. The man who begged Fonseca to slow down, Richard Miller, 21, was seriously injured and needed emergency surgery, police said.

Detectives say Fonseca, who was 23 at the time of the crash, was going 98 mph just before the deadly Oct. 8 crash, which happened around 2 a.m..

On Tuesday, the Broward State Attorney’s Office filed 17 charges against Fonseca, including DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury and reckless driving. He was arrested Wednesday and being held Thursday in Broward’s Main Jail with no bond. He will face a magistrate judge Friday morning.

According to a Hollywood police report, Fonseca, Senesca and Miller met friends at Capone’s Flicker Lite, a restaurant on Hollywood beach.

With the help of surveillance video, detectives say they were able to see Fonseca exit the car around 10:30 p.m. on the night of Oct. 7, go to the trunk and retrieve “an unknown bottle from the trunk of the vehicle” before he and the victim began drinking from it. The men went inside, but then came out just before 11 p.m., police said.

“The arrestee is seen walking back out to his vehicle with several friends, and retrieving a bottle from the trunk of a vehicle,” a detective wrote in the report. “After the arrestee retrieves the bottle, he proceeds to wave it in the air before passing the bottle around to a group of five friends with whom he had met inside the establishment. Each individual is seen drinking from the bottle and passing it around.”

A witness later told police the bottle contained rum, according to the report.

Fonseca and his friends went back inside to hang out, police said.

At about 2 a.m., Fonseca, Senesca and Miller headed out. Just after 2:05 a.m., a 911 call came in reporting a crash at 1735 E. Young Circle.

When officers arrived, Miller told them he had told Fonseca to slow down “and even contemplated jumping out of the moving vehicle because the speed was becoming very excessive,” a detective wrote. Miller was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital and had emergency surgery.

Senesca, who was riding in the back passenger seat, was found dead behind the driver’s side seat, police said.

Fonesca was found “unconscious behind the wheel of the car.” He was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital as a trauma alert, police said. A blood sample was drawn and showed that his blood alcohol level was .127 percent, which is higher than the legal limit of .08 percent, according to the report.

Detectives also secured a search warrant for the car and found a small smoking bowl that tested positive for the presence of marijuana, police said

By using surveillance video, detectives determined Fonseca was going 98 mph just before the crash and about 86 at the time of impact, according to the report.

“The arrestee vehicle speed was so excessive and the crash was so violent it caused the victim’s seat belt to snap at the base of the fabric causing the victim to be violently tossed around the rear of the vehicle during impact,” a detective wrote. “This crash ultimately led to the death of victim Jayson Senesca and serious bodily injury to victim Richard Miller.”

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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