Car crash kills pregnant woman at hotel pool

Driver hit pool cabana killing pregnant woman

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter , Constance Jones - Anchor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A pregnant woman laying by the Riverside Hotel pool in Fort Lauderdale, and her unborn child, were hit and killed by a car Sunday afternoon, witnesses said.

Fort Lauderdale police said a driver lost control of her small, four-door sedan at 660 East Las Olas Blvd. and collapsed two concrete pillars that were holding up a two-story building. 

Fort Lauderdale police said inside the hotel pool cabana, Alanna DeMella, 26, who was seven months pregnant, was hit and killed.

Witnesses said DeMella and her husband, Michael, were visiting from Boston. They said they walked into the pool area and decided to use the restrooms. Michael DeMella walked into the men's bathroom, and Alanna, while talking to and rubbing her pregnant belly, walked into the ladies' room.

At that very moment, for whatever reason, Rosa Rivera Kim, 34, was driving by and veered off the road, slamming right into the cabana.

Those nearby said they heard an explosion come from the woman's bathroom.

"A big almighty explosion, that's what it sounded like," said witness Darren Gordon, a tourist visiting from the UK, who called 911. "Tragic accident. It's sad. There was no braking, no screeching of tires, just a big explosion."

Guests ran over and tried to pull debris to get to Alanna DeMella, but couldn't get to her. They said Michael DeMella had several lacerations and was wailing and screaming, "Why? Why?"

Gordon said Michael DeMella was coming out of the restroom and said, "My wife is in the other one."

"We all converged to starting, ripping the debris apart to get to the woman. I think it was too late," Gordon said.

Gordon's wife, Joanne, said the entire thing was shocking.

"Just sitting there, minding your own business, and one almighty band, you just never know," she said. "Poor lady had just gone in there to use the restroom."

Joanne Gordon said the couple were saying they were on their way home to Boston.

"They were going home to Boston. That's what he kept saying: 'We were on our way home. We were on our way home. Why? Why has this happened?'"

Another witness said he saw the driver just before the crash and said she was going at a high rate of speed and just crashed into the cabana. Fort Lauderdale police Detective Deanna Garcia said the speed limit behind the hotel near the pool area is either 25 or 30 mph.

"I was driving along here and the car cut in front of me, going very rapidly," witness Jack Jennings said.

Rivera Kim was taken to Broward General Hospital and was listed in serious condition.

The hotel released a statement saying, "Our thoughts and prayers are going out to all the families involved. This has certainly been a tragic accident at the Riverside Hotel."

On Monday morning, investigators were back at the scene, trying to piece together what happened.

The hotel pool remained closed Monday. There was extensive damage to the building and the electrical wiring.

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