$250,000 Bond for Brazilian Race Car Driver Charged With DUI Manslaughter

Joao Paulo Escudero Mauro will be on house arrest after posting bond in Miami Beach fatal crash

By Brian Hamacher and Steve Litz
|  Friday, Jan 20, 2012  |  Updated 11:14 PM EDT
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Joao Paulo Escudero Mauro will be on house arrest after posting bond in Miami Beach fatal crash.

Joao Paulo Escudero Mauro will be on house arrest after posting bond in Miami Beach fatal crash.

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Brazilian Race Car Driver Charged With DUI Manslaughter

The 20-year-old Brazilian was driving at about 60 mph in a 30 mph zone when he swerved and fatally struck a pedestrian, police said.
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The Brazilian race car driver facing DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges in a crash Thursday that killed a pedestrian in Miami Beach will be allowed to post bond.

Joao Paulo Escudero Mauro, 20, was in a Miami-Dade courtroom Friday, where a judge set his bond at $250,000.

He was released later Friday after posting bond, but he is under house arrest with an ankle monitor and had to surrender his passport.

"We intend to defend these charges, because we believe that the evidence will show that Mr. Mauro was not driving under the influence or involved in vehicular homicide," Mauro's attorney, Gus Lage, said after Friday's court appearance.

According to Miami Beach Police, Mauro was driving a silver Mercedes-Benz SUV north on Collins Avenue at about 60 mph in a 30 mph zone when his car swerved left and drove up onto the sidewalk at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Pedestrian Russell Knudson, 45, who was attempting to put his bicycle into a rear door of a four-wheel-drive Toyota, was struck and killed by the Mercedes, police said.

The Mercedes kept going north on the sidewalk until it stopped just before 40th Street, police said.

Mauro had a flushed face, bloodshot eyes and his breath smelled of alcohol, police said. Mauro acknowledged swerving to avoid a vehicle stopped in traffic in front of him, and that he had been drinking earlier, police said.

Police also noted that Mauro had “a white powdery substance in his left nostril,” and that they found a small baggie of what appeared to be cocaine near where he was standing. He was later charged with cocaine possession in addition to the DUI and vehicular homicide charges.

Lage said the Mauro family feels "very badly for the Knudson family."

Police said Mauro is a Brazilian citizen but has a local address in Aventura. He has competed in Brazilian stock car racing and made his American debut at a Grand-Am Road Racing event, the Road America 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in Wisconsin, last June.

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