The driver of the car investigators say was going the wrong way before a fatal head-on collision with another vehicle on the Sawgrass Expressway early Wednesday did not have a valid driver’s license, records show.
Left in critical condition following the pre-dawn crash was Cesar Gerardo Nunez, 56, of Parkland. He remained in the intensive care unit at Broward Health North on Thursday.
A third driver involved in the crash just west of Coral Ridge Drive, Nicholas Cassell, 18, of Parkland, was not seriously injured.
In a picture snapped by the Wrong Way Vehicle Detection Device and released by investigators Thursday, Martinez’s Hyundai is seen going north on the southbound exit ramp at 5:13 a.m., according to FHP Sgt. Mark Wysocky. The crash was reported to authorities in a 911 call just one minute later, he said.
Cassell, at the wheel of a 2001 Ford Taurus, said he was headed south on the Sawgrass, traveling in the center lane behind Nunez’s 2010 Corolla when he saw the lights of another vehicle coming at him. “It was pretty scary,” said the first-year Broward College student.
When the Hyundai hit the Toyota, Cassel said he tried to avoid the crash but collided with the car in front of him. His vehicle ran off the roadway to the west and struck a stand of palm trees.
The Hyundai and the Toyota came to rest in the grassy median of the Sawgrass, FHP said.
Martinez’s driver’s license had been suspended several times since 2000, according to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles records. He was stopped in several Florida counties for various infractions, including two speeding charges in Broward in 2010 and 2013.
Martinez had also been arrested in the last 15 years on charges including battery, grand theft, probation violation and drug possession. He was scheduled to be in a Broward court Sept. 29 on a charge of possession of ecstasy.
According to Silvia Rodriguez, his former mother-in-law, Martinez was the father of three children.
The crash investigation continues as investigators await the results of autopsy and toxicology reports, Wysocky said.
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