- Eliot Kleinberg Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A then-17-year-old boy whose pickup slammed into two trees west of Lantana, killing 13-year-old passenger Karenine Saint Louis, will not be criminally charged in the crash, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.
The July 9 death of the honor student led her mother to sue the ride-hailing company Lyft, saying it took the girl from her suburban Boynton Beach-area home to the boy’s Greenacres home despite a company ban on transporting minors alone.
Jimmy Aguirre, now 18, still could face traffic citations in the crash, sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera told The Palm Beach Post in an email Wednesday.
“Evidence does not support vehicle homicide,” Barbera said. “The investigation is still ongoing. He will not face a vehicle homicide charge but may face other charges (traffic related).”
Because investigators are not done, they have not yet provided any documents beyond an initial crash report.
State records show Aguirre does not have a regular driver license, but only a Class E learner’s permit, which requires someone who’s at least 21 be in the front seat when he drives. The report on the crash says the two were the only ones in the 2002 Ford F-150 pickup when Aguirre lost control on a wet road. State records show a juvenile court judge suspended the learner’s permit on July 21.
The crash report said the boy sustained minor injuries. It said neither person wore seat belts and that there’s no indication alcohol or drugs were involved
On July 17, the girl’s mother, Josie Saint Fleur sued Lyft in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, saying the driver violated a policy that forbids drivers to transport children 17 and under who are alone. Lawyers have said that, if not for Lyft’s improper action, the girl never would have been in the boy’s truck when it slammed into two trees west of Lantana.
The lawsuit originally also named as defendants Jimmy Aguirre and his mother Melissa, but later dropped her. She has declined to speak to The Post.
The mother’s lawyer, in a modified complaint filed this month, said a Lyft driver who spoke no English, and didn’t know his employer barred transporting minors, picked up a 13-year-oldgirl sneaking out of her gated-community home in her pajamas at 1:30 a.m., then took her to her boyfriend’s home. The girl’s family has said her grandmother was asleep and her mother, a nurse who was working an overnight shift, thought the girl was home in her bed. The mother has since said she never had heard of the boy before the crash.
But in a motion to dismiss, lawyers for Lyft say Karenine spent at least four hours at Aguirre’s Greenacres home and died at 5:30 a.m. as he drove her home because his parents’ Lyft account balance was too low. As a result, the lawyers said, Lyft can’t possibly be responsible for her death, under a legal concept known as “intervening cause.”