Young couple documents night of bar hopping before deadly crash
A young couple’s wild road trip in a Mercedes from Stuart to Miami Beach featured bar stops and speeds topping 132 miles per hour. It ended early Friday when their car plunged off a highway overpass before exploding in a fireball.
Brooklyn Taylor Easter, 21, documented much of her Thursday night and Friday morning out with boyfriend Troy Jozef Andrews, also 21, on her public Instagram account. The couple was driving back north when Andrews’ black Mercedes-Benz jumped a concrete barrier and plummeted 30 feet off the Golden Glades Interchange about 2:30 a.m., killing both and paralyzing the heavily traveled thoroughfare for most of Friday.
“They say that love is forever/Your forever is all that I need,” Andrews posted to Instagram on June 1. Along with a photo of himself and Easter, he included a heart emoji and the hashtag “rideorfry.” The two made their relationship Facebook official in May. They were five days away from their one-month anniversary, which would have been June 19.
Easter wrote online that she worked at Sunrise Surf Shop in Jensen Beach. Andrews, a multi-instrumentalist, produced and promoted music on YouTube. He had been studying cybersecurity and digital media, according to his Instagram page.
They visited at least three bars during the wild night. The first was Shrimpers Grill and Raw Bar in Stuart around 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the time stamp on her Instagram post. Easter posted photos and video of two pairs of shots and some food.
About two hours later, they stopped by the Stuart Boardwalk Park and Mulligan’s Beach House, another bar, before visiting a WaWa gas station. Sometime around midnight, Easter filmed her boyfriend driving at 132 mph while country music blasted from the car’s speakers.
She screamed in elation.
By 12:19 a.m., they were driving east on the MacArthur Causeway from Miami Beach and Andrews stuck his tongue out for the camera. An hour later they were in South Beach.
The last photo Easter posted to Instagram was a table full of drinks at Ted’s Hideway on Second Street in Miami Beach. An hour and a half later, their car exploded in a fireball as the car plunged off the flyover and slammed into a green highway sign on the way down around 2:30 a.m. The car landed on its roof.
The early-morning crash awakened a tired tow truck driver who had pulled off the road for a nap. He heard a boom and then was startled to see a badly injured woman emerge from the fiery wreckage on Interstate 95.
“It was like a bomb,” tow truck driver Orlando Cabrera told Miami Herald news partner CBS4. That’s when he woke to see the woman stagger out of the flaming car, which came to rest on I-95’s southbound lanes after falling from the overpass. The man behind the wheel was not moving.
Cabrera said he tried to rescue the man and woman. It was too late. “The lady, she can’t move because she had broken all her bones,” he said. Both died on the highway.
The crash shut down southbound traffic as well as ramps to other major roadways. The shutdown snarled morning rush-hour commutes in the North Miami-Dade corridor that is routinely choked with traffic. I-95, the Palmetto, Florida’s Turnpike and 441 all converge in a ribbon of roadways known as “the spaghetti bowl.”
“What can I tell you? I drive all night and all day, too. So it’s a scare, man. It’s not easy,” Cabrera told WPLG Local 10.
FHP spokesman Lt. Alex Camacho said the fatal crash happened just south of the Golden Glades Interchange. Andrews was traveling north on the northbound I-95 entrance ramp to the Golden Glades Park and Ride.
The shutdown of southbound I-95 at the Golden Glades Interchange stretched into the afternoon as crews descended on the highway to clear the wreck, remove the damaged sign and check the pavement.
About 11 hours after the crash, FHP reopened the southbound I-95 lanes, and the ramps at 441, the Palmetto and Florida’s Turnpike.