Driver involved in death of paramedics facing DUI charges


Genero D. Ajqui, the driver of a car involved in a Jupiter crash that killed two paramedics on June 1, lived just a block away from where the 3 a.m. collision occurred and was drinking alcohol before the crash, according to a report obtained by The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday afternoon.

Jupiter police say a preliminary investigation has revealed that Ajqui of Southwest Drive in Jupiter was the driver of the Chrysler Sebring that killed Lahiri Garcia, 51, and Paul Besaw, 36. Charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and related charges against Ajqui are pending, according to the traffic crash report.

A knock on the duplex where the police report says Ajqui lived on Southview Drive — just one block from the scene of the accident — went unanswered. Children’s toys, a cooler and other household items were on the front lawn. A portable air-conditioner purred in the front window.

A woman who lived in the other unit in the white duplex with dark blue trim said she did not know Ajqui well.

“I have not seen him since the accident,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

Ajqui was in fair condition Wednesday morning at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, said Ryan Lieber, hospital spokesman.

Dawn Besaw, who was married to Paul Besaw for 10 years and has a 6-six-year-old daughter Allison, said she was angry that her husband — a man dedicated to helping others — could have been killed by a drunk driver.

“It’s ridiculous that someone with so little regard for human life, who would get behind the wheel when they were drunk, would take the life of a person like Paul. My husband saved so many lives. It makes no sense. What am I going to tell Allison? ” Dawn Besaw said when told of the preliminary charges.

Besaw had been rehearsing for a daughter/dad dance with Allison scheduled for that following Sunday in Fort Lauderdale.

Dawn Besaw plans to be at the Jupiter Medical Center this morning for the dedication of a lounge in the Emergency Medical Center in the names of both men. The two first responders had just dropped off a patient at JMC before the collision on Indiantown Road.

Besaw plans on making sure that Ajqui pays the full penalty for driving drunk if he is found guilty.

“I’m going to fight for my husband,” Besaw said. “He was an angel, and he was taken from us. I will make sure his story lives on and he will save some lives. I am going to make sure that man gets the fullest possible penalty.”

The crash occurred on a Thursday about 3 a.m. at the intersection of west Indiantown Road and Philadelphia Drive in the left-hand lane.

According to the traffic crash report, Ajqui was driving a Chrysler convertible east on West Indiantown Road when he tried to make a U-turn at Philadelphia Drive. The ambulance, driven by Besaw, was traveling west on West Indiantown Road approaching Philadelphia Drive.

As Besaw approached the intersection, witnesses said that Ajqui made the U-turn directly in front of Besaw, failing to yield, according to the report.

The ambulance struck the right passenger side of the convertible. At impact, both vehicles, heavily damaged, slid in a northeast direction through the roadway. The convertible came to a final rest on the north sidewalk facing south.

The ambulance rotated and came to a final stop, partially on the north sidewalk, lying on its driver’s side and facing southeast.

Besaw and Garcia were pronounced dead the scene. Ajqui was transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. It’s unclear what his condition was as of Tuesday evening. Jupiter Police Spokeswoman Kristin Rightler said she did not know if Ajqui was still in St. Mary’s Medical Center. At this time, police were uncertain of Ajqui’s immigration status.

The report states that Jupiter police “revealed that ajqui had been consuming alcohol prior to the crash.”

The report states that Ajqui was tested for alcohol and drugs via a blood sample; toxicology results are pending.

Palm Beach County records show Ajqui was cited several times for traffic violations over the years.

In the span of 10 years, he was cited three times for driving without a license and once for not having a tag for his car. Each time he pleaded guilty and paid a fine, according to records. On Christmas Eve 2015, he was cited for passing in a no-pass zone and paid the civil penalty.

Each time, Ajqui was pulled over by Jupiter police.

Besaw and Garcia were alone in the ambulance and on their way to the AMR station on Indian Creek Drive west of Central Boulevard when the crash occurred, Kim Warth, AMR’s national director of communications, told the Post.

Garcia, a 23-year employee who lived in Port St. Lucie, was a critical care supervisor. Besaw, a 17-year employee who lived in Weston, was a critical care paramedic and supervisor, according to AMR.



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