MIAMI (WSVN) - Hours after a man appeared in court in connection to a deadly chain-reaction crash on the 79th Street Causeway, the family of the victim opened up about their loss and what their loved one meant to them.
Speaking with 7News on Wednesday, family members described Juan Andres Da Costa Berruti as a fanatic of all Uruguay sports, a devoted friend and family man, and someone dedicated to helping underserved children learn basketball. In other words, a man with much to live for.
Benjamin Rodriguez said the victim, known by loved ones as Andy, was his father’s best friend.
“He was like another father figure, basically, someone I could count on,” said Rodriguez. “It was family; that’s the relationship that we had.”
For each of them, they were the only family they had in Miami.
Monday night, Da Costa Berruti was on his way to pick up Rodriguez, who said they got a team together and were going to play soccer.
“He told me, ‘Nine-thirty I’m there,’ and then I told him, ‘OK, yeah, we’re waiting for you,'” said Rodriguez. “We were waiting across the street, and 10 minutes went by, 20, 30, and so, at one point, I called my dad back home, and I was like, ‘Hey, I don’t have a good feeling, you know?'”
Rodriguez’s father and stepmother Carolina Esrich felt the agony of not knowing what happened.
“We started calling him and texting him and nothing,” said Esrich, “and we said, ‘Well, let’s go to bed and see if he gets back to us in the morning.’ And he didn’t.”
He didn’t because, police said, 24-year-old Alejandro Hall smashed a Lamborghini Urus into the driver’s side of Da Costa Berruti’s Hyundai Elantra.
The impact caused Da Costa Berruti to be ejected from his car. He was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to their injuries. He was 38 years old.
Wednesday morning, Hall stood before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy S. Glazer.
“Sir, you were arrested for one count of vehicular homicide and one count of driving without a license causing a death,” said Glazer.
Hall’s defense attorney argued there wasn’t probable cause for vehicular homicide, but Glazer disagreed.
“There’s probable cause for vehicular homicide. He was driving recklessly, he could not control his vehicle, and he killed somebody,” said Glazer.
Hall already has a DUI hardship license where he can only go to school, work or the doctor. It’s the result of a previous charge of driving under the influence.
Police said when Hall on Monday night was driving back from Miami Beach, he stated in the arrest report, he drove to a dock near Club LIV and got on a yacht where he drank Champagne.
Once police arrived at the scene of what ended up being a four-car smash-up, they detailed in the report that Hall “had a slurred speech and an odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his person.”
When officers walked up to the Lamborghini, the arrest report states, there were “two open bottles of alcohol in the rear right seat.”
“I hope he can realize the impact that he had, not only affected my uncle, who is now no longer with us, but you destroy lives by doing that,” said Rodriguez.
Now Da Costa Berruti’s friends and family are taking it day by day with this tragedy, missing their beloved Andy.
Everything. He was everything for us,” said Esrich.
Hall was given an $80,000 bond and could face additional charges such as DUI manslaughter.
Da Costa Berruti’s loved ones have created a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs. If you would like to make a donation, click here.
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