One of two motorists hospitalized in Wednesday’s chaotic crash and shooting on Interstate 95 near Lantana Road still was hospitalized Friday, while the other has been released from care, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.
The update comes as five different law-enforcement agencies try to sort out the chaos that unfolded in minutes and closed down the highway’s northbound lanes between Lake Worth and Boynton Beach for more than six hours.
They are trying to figure out just how many people Hugo Steven Selva shot, or shot at, before Wednesday’s murder-chase-crash melee that ended with a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy killing Selva on Interstate 95.
A friend of Selva told The Post on Friday that the 22-year-old man had been dealing with health problems prior to the events of Tuesday and Wednesday. Another spoke of Selva’s struggle with drugs.
Delray Beach police disclosed they were preparing to arrest him in early 2017 until his grandmother, whom he had threatened, decided not to have him prosecuted.
And a friend of Nicole Marie Novak, his 26-year-old girlfriend and the mother of their 3-month-old daughter, said she wanted to leave behind a difficult life marked by drug and burglary arrests and prison time.
The sheriff’s office has not yet identified or divulged either injuries or conditions for the two motorists who were hospitalized after the crashes, or even said to which hospital the two were sent.
And it has not identified any of the motorists in the six to eight cars that were struck. And it will not say how many cars were involved.
Authorities say they have reason to believe Selva, 22, shot one man -- identified as Charles Brown, 32 -- on Tuesday afternoon in West Palm Beach, then another, Anthony Fonti, 21, early Wednesday in Boynton Beach.
At about 9 a.m. Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said, Selva fatally shot Novak outside a Lake Worth grocery store. They say Selva then shoved her into his SUV before racing the wrong way down I-95 and causing three head-on crashes near Lantana Road.
Moments later, the sheriff’s office said, an FHP trooper fired a Taser, but it either didn’t work or had no effect on Selva. PBSO Deputy Connor Haugh then fatally shot the man.
Deputies dragged Novak, 26, from the smoldering car, but she was dead, authorities have said.
And there might be more. Boca Raton police have not ruled out the possibility that Selva was the person who shot a Boca Raton man at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday on southbound Interstate 95 near Yamato Road.
Wednesday’s shooting on Interstate 95 does not mark the first time Haugh, 35, has fired his gun in the line of duty. In May 2008, while with the Boynton Beach Police Department, he and a fellow officer fired on a car that police said two men had hijacked moments earlier from an 81-year-old woman at knifepoint in Leisureville, off Boynton Beach Boulevard west of I-95.
Haugh had approached the car but was nearly struck when the driver hit the accelerator and the front end swerved. The car careened into a fence at Poinciana Elementary School. No one was hurt and two alleged carjackers were arrested.
PBSO has said that of all its deputies on the scene, only Haugh fired a weapon. But citing its continuing investigation, it has not said how many times he pulled the trigger and has not said how many bullets struck Selva or where. And it has not said if Selva was holding a gun when he was shot.
FHP also has not identified the trooper who deployed his Taser.
Haugh is on standard administrative leave following Wednesday’s shooting, which PBSO has arranged for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to review. Haugh had worked in Boynton Beach from 2005 to April 2016, then joined PBSO.
Wednesday’s pandemonium lasted less than an hour but ended the turmoil-filled lives of Selva and Novak. Selva shows no criminal record in Florida, but in December 2016, his grandmother said in court documents that he’d tried to kill her. And Novak spent more than two years in state prison on drug and burglary convictions.
In Tuesday afternoon’s West Palm Beach incident, Brown suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he was shot near the Dutchman Motor Lodge, on South Dixie Highway south of Forest Hill Boulevard. He was treated at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Police said at the time that Brown likely knew his shooter.
In the Boynton Beach incident early Wednesday, Fonti is expected to survive his injuries. Boynton Beach police have said they still are working to “100 percent confirm the connection” to Selva.