The ride-sharing company Lyft took a 13-year-old girl in the middle of the night to a 17-year-old boy’s home, where she got in his pickup and died when it slammed into two trees west of Lantana early on July 9, a lawsuit filed this week contends.
Josie Saint Fleur still doesn’t know what her daughter, high-honors student Karenine Saint Louis, was doing out at 5:30 a.m. with Jimmy Aguirre, a boy the mother didn’t know. Saint Fleur, a nurse, has told The Palm Beach Post she was working an overnight shift and thought Karenine was home asleep. Lawyers said a grandmother was asleep in the home.
The lawsuit names as defendants Aguirre and his mother, as well as Lyft, and two Lyft drivers, one of whom is believed to have taken Saint Louis from her home west of Boynton Beach to Aguirre’s home in Greenacres. Lawyers said they were able to narrow down drivers to two names and eventually expect to learn which of the two picked up Karenine.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Palm Beach Circuit Court, doesn’t specify damages.
Lyft spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna, contacted late Tuesday, had not yet seen the suit.
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 west of Lantana.
No charges have been filed for now as the investigation continues, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday. The Post has been unable to make contact either with Jimmy Aguirre or his family.
The suit said the Lyft driver “had a duty to request ID for confirmation of her (St. Louis’) age and to refuse transport after the driver would have learned that was under 18, and in fact 5 years younger than 18.” It says the driver had a duty to get the parent’s consent and to call Lyft’s “Critical Response Line” for guidance.
“They took a vulnerable child out of the home,” attorney Scott M. Fischer told The Post on Tuesday, “and drove her 9 miles into the hands of a 17-year-old male, which proceeded to cause her death, which we don’t believe would have happened had Lyft acted responsibly.” He said lawyers believe Karenine left her house at about 1 a.m.
According to Lyft’s web page, children 17 and under are forbidden to ride alone.
Relatives and friends of Karenine created an online page July 13 to raise money for her funeral. By Tuesday afternoon, it had raised about half of the $5,000 goal.
“Karenine’s mother and family are in desperate need for your prayers, support and donations as she tries to piece together the circumstances of her daughter’s passing of her soul,” the page said. It said funeral details were incomplete.
The 1,700-student Somerset Canyons charter school in suburban Boynton Beach, the charter school Karenine attended, will plant a tree to honor her when students return for the fall, an assistant principal said this past week. Karenine was about to start her third year there and was to be in the eighth grade. She was in advanced classes in the school’s medical program and wanted to be a psychiatrist.