Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Darwin Award Nominee

From the Miami Herald:

A man intentionally barreled his car off the sixth floor level of the Shops at Sunset Place’s parking garage Monday evening, sending his airborne Mercury Cougar smashing into the side of an adjacent drugstore, before it slammed down on parked cars — miraculously missing pedestrians.

The driver survived, suffering no major injuries, probably because he was wearing his seatbelt, South Miami police said.

“Everybody was blessed today,” said South Miami Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro, who had rushed to the hectic scene fearing casualties: At dusk during the holiday season, the shops and restaurants that line the sidewalks around Sunset Place are bustling.

Police say the man, identified as Nicanor “Nic” Jose Saleta, 26, had been trying to commit suicide.

Saleta told rescuers who responded to the scene that his wife had just left him. He told paramedics that he had intentionally gunned his car in an attempt to kill himself — even though he strapped himself in with his seatbelt.


Witnesses at the parking garage told authorities they saw a man in jeans and a white T-shirt climb in his ’93 Mercury Cougar and back out of the parking space. He then gunned the car, reaching 60 to 70 mph. The car broke through the wall and sailed through the air, flying 100 feet across the parking lot. It hit the back wall of the CVS Pharmacy, 5795 Sunset Dr., putting a six-foot hole into the building.

The Cougar then fell on top of cars below before bouncing onto the parking lot, landing on all four wheels, witnesses told police.

Tons of bricks and concrete from both structures rained down on CVS’ small parking lot, damaging several vehicles.

Rule #1 in attempting suicide in a car: do NOT fasten your seatbelt.