Family hit by pickup truck in Dania Beach; woman's leg severed

3 hit while walking back from dinner

DANIA BEACH, Fla. – A family of six preparing to leave for a cruise on Monday was hit by a pickup truck as the group walked back to a hotel, an investigator with the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

The family members were walking on the grass on the side of Southwest 42nd Street near Ravenswood Road when they were hit just before 8 p.m.

They were identified Monday as David Wensel, 51, and Kathleen Wensel, 47, and their children, Raquel Leota, 24, Tyson Wensel, 10, Brian Wensel, 24, and Hope Wensel, 11. Leota's husband, Thomas Leota, 31, was also injured in the crash.

Authorities said Raquel Leota's lower left leg was severed and Tyson Wensel also suffered an injury to his right leg. Thomas Leota suffered minor injuries. They were taken to Broward Health Medical Center.

According to a GoFundMe page set up for the family's medical expenses, Raquel Leota lost her foot and Tyson Wensel suffered a severe concussion, laceration to his right leg and a fractured left foot. Both of his lungs were also bruised. The brother and sister remain in the hospital's ICU.

The GoFundMe page claims that the driver of the pickup truck was drunk at the time.

"We are grateful to Broward Sherriff"s Office, the paramedics and the staff here at Broward Health Medical Center for providing such good care to our family," the family said in a statement.


Authorities said the family from Eagle Mountain, Utah, walked to the Rustic Inn for dinner before the crash. They were walking back to the Fairfield Inn & Suites on Griffin Road near Interstate 95 when a driver plowed into the group.

Deputies said James Howell, 57, of Pembroke Pines, was behind the wheel of the Chevrolet pickup truck that struck the family. Witnesses said Howell, who suffered some minor injuries, swerved to the wrong side of the road and hit the group from behind before crashing into a fence.

Authorities are investigating whether alcohol or speed contributed to the wreck.

Howell has been released from the hospital. It's unclear whether he will face charges.

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