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After the death of two Royal Palm Beach Community High School students, the man accused of driving under the influence and up onto a sidewalk, slamming into a group of teenagers who were waiting for their school bus, has been arrested.
Angel Antonio Lopez, 57, of Royal Palm Beach, is facing two counts of DUI manslaughter, two counts of vehicular homicide, one count of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury, one count of driving under the influence causing property damage or injury, reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, and reckless driving causing injury to person or property.
Tiana Johnson, 15, Chand Wazir, 15, and two other students — a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy — were waiting at their bus stop shortly before 7 a.m. March 22 on the corner of Crestwood Boulevard and Cypress Lakes Drive. The students were heading back to school on the first day after Spring Break, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Major Talal Masri said at a news conference Wednesday.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel is not naming the two surviving minors, who were seriously injured but are expected to recover.
Lopez, driving a 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio north on Crestwood Boulevard, lost control and drove into the students on the sidewalk. Johnson died the morning after the crash at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Wazir died at the same hospital days later.
Masri said Lopez’s toxicology results showed he had over four times the legal limit of a prescription medicine in his system at the time of the crash, and the first officers to interact with him at the scene that day noticed slurred speech and signs of impairment.
Lopez was arrested in front of his home after he left work at the Wellington Mall, Masri said.
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At a news conference announcing Lopez’s arrest and the arrest of Noah Galle in a high-speed crash that killed six in Delray Beach, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said that these two cases “are extremely labor-intensive investigations.”
“It’s unfortunate that too many people drive recklessly on our roadways and put lives at risk, and in cases like this, any time we have sufficient evidence that someone has broken the law, we will prosecute them,” Aronberg said. “You can’t have a safe community without having safe streets, and we intend to hold defendants in cases like this accountable for their actions and seek justice for victims.”
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, whose district includes Royal Palm Beach, attended the news conference Wednesday to thank the Sheriff’s Office for their work in this case.
“My thoughts and my prayers go out to the two families who tonight will go to sleep without their two children in their beds,” she said.
Royal Palm Beach Community High School Principal Michelle Fleming said in a note to parents whose students are assigned to the same bus stop that the stop was moved to another location “out of respect for the victims and families.”
The School District of Palm Beach County said the stop has changed for students living in The Estates and the Grandview Community. Students who live at The Estates will now use the stop at Cypress Lakes Drive at a turnaround in front of the community, and students living in the Grandview Community will use a private transportation company until a long-term change is decided.