HOMESTEAD, Fla. – The family of Anthony Rojo DeLeon settled one lawsuit for more than $5 million and now they are filing another — this one with the automaker of the car that was involved in the fatal accident.
The boy’s mother, Judy Rojo, said no amount of money can bring back the 3-year-old who was with his mother when he died after being pinned under a speeding car. On Wednesday, she returned to the site of the crash.
“Everything happened here and we saw everything,” Rojo said.
It was Feb. 14, 2020 when Hanskabell Amargos, 42, took the keys and got into a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat from the Spitzer Dodge Dealership where he was working. Across the street, Judy Rojo had her son, Anthony, with her while she sold Valentine’s gifts at her family’s vendor’s tent.
Amargos pulled out of the dealership on South Dixie Highway in Homestead and was traveling north when he lost control of the car and crashed into the tent, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The boy was pinned under the car. He later died at a hospital from his injuries.
However, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, the automaker who manufactures the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat denies the liability, stating that the company did not own the Charger at the time of the crash, that it was the dealership who had the keys to the car, that it was the driver of the car who took those keys without consent, and that the boy’s mother was negligent.
“This accident is a tragedy and FCA extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Anthony Rojo DeLeon. Law enforcement has investigated this matter and determined the accident was caused by a driver flooring the accelerator resulting in a loss of control while departing the Spitzer Autoworld dealership. The driver, an employee of the dealership, took the vehicle without the permission of his employer or the owner of the vehicle. On August 20, 2020, it was reported that the driver turned himself in to Florida Highway Patrol to face a charge of vehicular homicide,” read the statement from FCA sent to Local 10.
But Adam Finkel of The Haggard Law Firm in Coral Gables, who represents the family, said that Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles had bought the car back as a “lemon.”
“While a responsible vehicle owner would have made sure that those keys never ended up in the wrong person’s hands, they didn’t. They simply left those keys with Spitzer,” Finkel said about FCA’s liability.
On Wednesday, Finkel announced that the first lawsuit had been settled for the full insurance limit, $5.5 million. “This courageous family somehow climbed from grief and brought a case in Dade County Circuit Court against Spitzer Dodge,” Finkel added.
Judy Rojo blames the driver. “If that driver would’ve driven safely, this wouldn’t have happened. My son would be alive. For every action, there’s consequences and that’s my message. I want ever dealership or anybody that owns a car to be careful.”
Local 10 reached out to the general manager of Spitzer Dodge. He declined comment on the situation.
(See the complaint against Spitzer Autoworld and 2nd complaint to FCA)