Brazilian Race Car Driver Charged With DUI Manslaughter in Collins Ave. Crash

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

By Edward B. Colby
|  Thursday, Jan 19, 2012  |  Updated 11:42 PM EDT
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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.

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 man who struck and killed a pedestrian with his SUV in Miami Beach early Thursday was Brazilian race car driver J.P. Mauro, police said.

The 20-year-old Brazilian 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., Miami Beach Police spokesman Juan Sanchez said.

That is where Mauro struck pedestrian Russell Knudson, 45, who was attempting to put his bicycle into a rear door of a four-wheel-drive Toyota, Sanchez said. The impact threw Knudson “to the sidewalk, mid-block” and he died on the scene, Sanchez said.

The Mercedes kept going north on the sidewalk until it stopped just before 40th Street, according to Sanchez.

The driver, whose full name is Joao Paulo Escudero Mauro, had a flushed face and bloodshot eyes, and his breath smelled of alcohol, Sanchez said in a report. Mauro acknowledged swerving to avoid a vehicle stopped in traffic in front of him, and that he had been drinking earlier, Sanchez 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, quite some time after the crash.

Mauro, a student whose local address is 1000 Island Blvd. in Aventura, has been charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and cocaine possession, and another charge because he altered his Brazilian state ID card to make him appear of age for drinking alcohol here, police said.

Sanchez said that Mauro is “a flight risk” and comes from a wealthy family in Brazil, and that the Brazilian Consulate was notified at the request of Mauro’s father.

Information on Mauro's court case is not yet available.

Mauro 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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