Wayne K. Roustan South Florida Sun Sentinel (TNS)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Dodge Charger Hellcat and a Honda motorcycle were going about 130 mph on a 45 mph road before the motorcyclist lost control, crashed and later died in the hospital, the Broward Sheriff’s said. Now, the driver of the Dodge is facing charges that include vehicular homicide and child abuse.
Steven Gabriel Seneca, 35, of Coral Springs, had his 5-year-old daughter in the car when following Liam Lexis Reyes, 28, of Coconut Creek. The deadly crash happened about noon Jan. 30 on Southwest 10th Street, approaching Florida’s Turnpike in Deerfield Beach, according to the arrest report.
The preliminary investigation found that Reyes’ 2006 Honda CBR600 was speeding westbound, but as the road curved he drove onto the grass, was ejected, and came to rest against a fence.
Detectives collected evidence that showed the Dodge was directly behind the motorcycle in the moments before the high-speed crash. Investigators determined that Seneca and Reyes were racing recklessly and aggressively weaving through traffic just before the crash.
Seneca was arrested Tuesday and charged with vehicular homicide, aggravated child abuse, racing, reckless driving, and speeding among others, records show.
At Seneca’s first court appearance Wednesday, his attorney David Tarras argued Seneca was never closer to the motorcycle than 70 feet, that he stayed at the scene of the crash and that he called 911.
“The motorcyclist (him)self, while this is tragic, was very, very, very reckless driving at 126 (mph), swerved off the road and unfortunately there was a tragic loss of life,” he said. “There’s nothing tying Mr. Seneca to that death.”
Tarras added there was no child abuse either. “Mr. Seneca’s daughter is not traumatized from this.”
Broward Judge Tabitha Blackmon disagreed.
“The court finds that the allegation that Mr. Seneca was driving 136 mph with his child in the car fits the definition of child abuse,” she said.
Seneca was released from the Broward County Jail Wednesday afternoon on bonds totaling $140,000, records show.
Attempts to reach Seneca and the Reyes family by phone for comment were unsuccessful.