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New bill seeks stiffer regulations for home delivery services after Boca Raton woman killed

‘Evy Udell Public Safety Act’ would hold retailers, delivery service providers accountable for employees facing criminal charges

Evelyn Smith Udell, 75, was fatally beaten and burned by a man who was hired to deliver and install a washer and dryer she bought from Best Buy.
Evelyn Smith Udell, 75, was fatally beaten and burned by a man who was hired to deliver and install a washer and dryer she bought from Best Buy.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A bill filed Tuesday in the Florida House seeks to add stringent screening requirements for home delivery service providers.

The “Evy Udell Public Safety Act” is named after Evelyn Smith Udell, a Boca Raton woman who police said was beaten, set on fire and killed by a delivery worker last year.

Sponsored by state Rep. Michael Caruso, R-Delray Beach, the law, if passed, would require all delivery service companies to complete local and national criminal background checks for employees. It would also require retailers contracting with delivery service providers to provide documentation of such.

The proposed law would prohibit delivery workers from entering homes if they have been arrested, convicted or are awaiting trial on a wide-range of charges, including sexual misconduct, assault, domestic violence, manslaughter and murder.

Boca Raton police said Jorge Lachazo, 21, was delivering a washer and dryer from Best Buy in August when he beat Udell with a mallet and doused her with a chemical he found in her house, setting her on fire.

Jorge Lachazo faces the death penalty for his alleged role in the brutal beating and burning of a 75-year-old Boca Raton woman.
Jorge Lachazo faces the death penalty for his alleged role in the brutal beating and burning of a 75-year-old Boca Raton woman.

Lachazo is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree arson and armed burglary with battery. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Records show that Lachazo had been arrested in two theft-related cases in Miami-Dade County in 2018.

Best Buy retained J.B. Hunt and XM Delivery to deliver and install appliances. Udell’s family is suing Best Buy, claiming the company “did nothing” to warn Udell that delivery and installation services had been delegated to third-party companies that Best Buy “did nothing to investigate, supervise or oversee.”

Under the proposed law, any company found to be in violation could be charged with a third-degree felony.

The bill only applies to delivery service providers of “household goods,” excluding postal and package service workers.