September 28, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH – Lawyers for a couple killed in a 2016 car crash will attempt in a lawsuit to prove what a criminal investigation could not: that a nurse who’d just gotten off an overnight shift was impaired by controlled substances when he ran a red light.

A 202-page Palm Beach County sheriff’s report on the 2016 crash west of Delray Beach that killed Andre and Vivian Brito says investigators found in Raymond Joseph Kelly’s vehicle envelopes and vials containing more than 300 tablets of medications. And that he showed signs of being under the influence of narcotic painkillers.

But by the time sheriff’s investigators arrived, the report said, emergency workers already had given the badly hurt Kelly medication for pain, and because of that, a sheriff’s forensic expert later “could not say with any certainty” if Kelly was impaired at the time of the collision. Because of that, “these were the only charges I was able to file,” Palm Beach County Sheriff’s homicide investigator Kurt Kloepping told Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Paul A. Damico at a July 26 traffic hearing at the South County Courthouse.

At that hearing, the judge ordered that Kelly, now 67, of Royal Palm Beach, pay $1,000 in fines for three traffic tickets — failing to use a designated lane, running a red light and careless driving — and lose his license for six months. Vivian’s sister, Patricia Da Silva, said just after the hearing that “justice wasn’t applied.” And her lawyer said a civil suit was in the works.

That complaint, which attorney Adam Langino said his firm filed Thursday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, says Kelly “operated his motor vehicle under the influence of controlled substances to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired.”

The full article can be accessed at The Palm Beach Post.