Three days after a man tragically lost his life in a fiery traffic crash in Sarasota, Florida, a photo has surfaced of one of the teenage brothers involved in that crash smiling in front of the wrecked Volvo troopers said he was riding in.
The photo shows the passenger of the car smiling holding up fours on both fingers and the words RIP Volvo with a smiley face emoji with a tear drop above it’s eye and a semi truck emoji next to it.
The 15-year-old’s brother who was driving the Volvo was arrested for felony leaving the scene of a crash involving death and violating the conditions of his learners permit. We are not releasing the 16-year-old or his brother’s name because they are minors, per our station policy.
The photo, that in some social media circles, has gone viral is a slap in the face for the man who died, Robert Drewelus’ widow, Elsie Nieves-Drewelus.
“I'm infuriated, I'm disgusted by it,” Nieves-Drewelus said. “I am angry cause meanwhile they are posting pictures on social media thinking it's funny, my husband, what was left of him, is being cremated.”
Drewelus died when Florida Highway Patrol investigators said he hit the back of the car the teens were driving. At this point, they have not released what caused the fatal crash that forced the truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline to go off the road and burst into flames.
Nieves-Drewelus said she will always wonder if, in the moments following the crash, whether her husband’s life could’ve been saved if the teens stopped to help.
“They took off. They didn't have the decency to at least to pull over and call 911,” Nieves-Drewelus said. “At least I would have known that they made some kind of effort. No. They just left him like you leave an animal on the side of the road which was not fair. Even if he had already passed, at least they could have pulled him out and he wouldn't had to burn. I could at least say goodbye to my husband, be able to touch him give him a last kiss and say goodbye to him.”
Troopers found the car hours after the crash at an apartment complex. The teens were taken into custody a short time later at another location.
“They knew what they did was wrong and they didn’t care,” Nieves-Drewelus said. “He (Drewelus) was a good human. He would take the shirt off his back for anyone. His friends all called him Bob. He was a good guy, good heart, good human being, he didn't deserve this and that's what angers me so much. The carelessness, the carelessness, and no type of remorse.”
The family will hold a private memorial service for Drewelus on Saturday. Our sister station WFTS reached out to the teen for a comment. He never wrote back. His Instagram account was deactivated with a disclaimer that it was hacked.