Wilfredo Malave identified as driver and father of 3 children killed in Florida car crash
The Florida Highway Patrol identified the father and his three children killed when their car struck a pole and plowed into several trees Friday night in Lake County, officials said.
The driver was identified as 41-year-old Wilfredo Malave of Lakeland. His son Zion Malave, 9, was pronounced dead at the scene along with his father, troopers said.
Malave’s younger son Phoenix, 7, and daughter Avaya, 2, died at Southlake Hospital, said FHP spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes.
Malave lost control of his 2009 Mercedes-Benz while traveling southbound on a State Road 33 curve at Groveland Airport Road. The vehicle left the road, struck several trees and a pole that sent the vehicle airborne into one final tree, crushing the car’s roof, Montes said.
The speed limit there is 60 mph, troopers said.
Malave and his two sons were belted in, although investigators said they think the boys had removed their shoulder belts.
The force of the crash was so great that the position of the belts would not have mattered, Montes said. Malave’s little girl was in a car seat.
Troopers are still investigating what caused the crash and whether alcohol played any role.
Malave was arrested for drunk driving in November 2010.