FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A woman accused of fatally striking a tourist on vacation with his family made her appearance in court, Thursday.
Regina Goodrich, 25, was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. She faces up to 30 years in prison if she is convicted.
What was initially supposed to be a family vacation turned into a tragedy for the Soler family in July.
Authorities said 58-year-old Miguel Soler was struck and killed on Las Olas Boulevard as he and his family stopped to take a photo while leaving the beach.
Prosecutors said Goodrich was the driver who struck Soler and continued without stopping to render aid. “Can you imagine coming here to Florida from New Jersey on a yearly vacation, and on the very last day, before you go back to New Jersey, being murdered?” said Robert Pelier, the attorney for Soler’s family.
Goodrich turned herself in and surrendered to the judge with her attorney and family present, Thursday afternoon.
Also present was Soler’s wife, Vivian Jimenez, who flew in from New Jersey for the courtroom appearance. “Regina destroyed my family, my 26-year marriage and left my son orphaned without a father,” she said as she read a statement.
7News cameras captured Goodrich drying her tears while Jimenez read her statement.
Some of the evidence the prosecutor presented, Thursday, included surveillance footage of the car going down the street and Instagram videos from the defendant. Hours before the incident, prosecutors said, Goodrich posted a video to her Instagram account showing her drinking with friends on the beach before she got behind the wheel.
Prosecutors also showed a picture that, they said, was taken by someone who was in the car with Goodrich, showing a broken windshield. Another photo shows the defendant’s Ford Escape with front-end damage.
Surveillance video presented in court captured Soler crossing las Olas moments before he was fatally hit.
“It’s been a grotesque disregard for human life,” said Pelier. “It’s inexcusable, it is unjustifiable, and we were pleased with what the judge did today, and overall, we were certainly pleased with the way that the prosecutor presented his case.”
Goodrich is being held at the Broward County Jail on $70,000 bond. She is expected to post bond Thursday evening. If she does, she is not allowed to leave Broward County.
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