Crime

Miami motorist high on meth when he killed Lyft driver in crash, police say

The scene of the car crash that killed Lyft driver Robert Torra on March 26. The driver of a second car, Nicholas Castelao, was charged this week with DUI manslaughter.
The scene of the car crash that killed Lyft driver Robert Torra on March 26. The driver of a second car, Nicholas Castelao, was charged this week with DUI manslaughter. Miami Fire-Rescue

A man who crashed a stolen BMW into another car in Little Havana, killing a Lyft driver, was high on crystal meth and cocaine, Miami prosecutors said Tuesday.

Nicholas Castelao, 35, was charged with DUI manslaughter — a rare case of someone in Miami being accused of driving while high on crystal meth. Booze or a host of other drugs are far more common in South Florida.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever seen a DUI case where the influence is meth,” said Sally Matson, a victim advocate for the South Florida branch of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “It’s just not something you see in Miami.”

Castelao was charged this week with the March 26 death of Robert Torra, a ride-sharing driver who was shuttling four passengers in his Volkswagen Jetta.

Castelao
Nicholas Castelao Miami-Dade Corrections

Miami police said Castelao’s BMW hit the Jetta at the intersection of Southwest 17th Street and Southwest 25th Avenue. Torra died at the scene.

Officers found a drug pipe “in plain view” outside the BMW, according to an arrest warrant released Tuesday. At Jackson Memorial Hospital, Castelao, who suffered a broken leg in the crash, “spontaneously stated to the nurse that he was on meth.”

A nurse’s aide, searching Castelao’s pockets for his ID, also found three baggies of suspected drugs. Tests of his blood and urine later revealed that he was high on meth and cocaine, according to an arrest warrant.

His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment. Castelao remained jailed on Tuesday.

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