Meltzer & Bell retained to Defend 49-Year-Old Woman in Accusations of Vehicle or Homicide
BOYNTON BEACH — A Palm Springs woman, who investigators say was driving more than 90 mph in a 45 mph zone when she was involved in a fatal crash near Boynton Beach in 2020, was arrested Tuesday, according to jail records.
Ana del Carmen Salinas, 49, faces one count of vehicular homicide in the March 13 death of 88-year-old Julius Bernard Shevlin. Salinas was released on $15,000 bail Wednesday, according to court records.
On March 13, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office investigators said, Salinas was driving a white Honda Accord south on Jog Road near the West Boynton Branch library. Shevlin was exiting the library parking lot in a green Toyota Yaris and trying to make a left turn into northbound traffic in the roadway.
Investigators said data provided from the cars showed Salinas’s vehicle was going 93 mph two seconds before her car’s airbag was deployed. Investigators said the minimum speed Salinas was driving at the time of impact was 71 mph.
The posted speed limit on Jog Road is 45 mph, according to the arrest report.
A witness to the crash said she saw the Honda at the intersection of Gateway Boulevard and Jog Road, just north of the library.
There, she said, she had the right of way to turn left onto southbound Jog Road, but the Honda made a right turn from eastbound Gateway onto Jog. She said she hesitated entering the intersection because of how fast the Honda was moving.
She said the Honda then sped around her in the moments before the crash. When she saw the wreck, she got out of her vehicle to help Shevlin, who died at the scene.
Salinas was removed from the vehicle by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crews and taken to Delray Medical Center for treatment. The extent of her injuries is unknown.
Investigators said the “reckless manner” and “speed driven” were the causes both of the crash and Shevlin’s death. An obituary for the 88-year-old suburban Boynton Beach resident said he was the father of three and grandfather of four children.
The Office of the State Attorney in West Palm Beach has dropped its manslaughter charge on William Difonzo, a Palm Beach County man accused of murder after a fight broke out at a local bar. Difonzo, through his attorneys at Meltzer and Bell, P.A., filed a Stand Your Ground Motion arguing self-defense.
Stand your ground allows an individual use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. Stand your ground forgoes the typical duty to retreat when the person has the right to be in a place.
Difonzo was facing 15 years in prison. “It was dismissed because he stood his ground,” said Steven Bell, partner at Meltzer and Bell, P.A. and Difonzo’s defense attorney. Bell stated that Difonzo was basically cornered outside a bar and he had the right to defend himself.
Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Steven Bell was quoted in a recent USA Today article discussing Tiger Woods’ possible eligibility for Palm Beach County’s first-time driving under the influence (DUI) offender program. The August 8 article touched on Woods being scheduled for his first appearance in court following a May 29 arrest for DUI. Tests showed Woods had no alcohol in his system, but he told officers that he had taken Xanax and other prescribed medications.
“Looking at the facts of Tiger’s case, I don’t see any reason why he should not be offered entry into the program,” Bell told USA TODAY Sports. “When you look at the probable cause affidavit, the case is very similar to the cases I’ve handled where my clients have been allowed entry into the program.”
Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represented John Barrington Kennedy, the 21-year-old man accused of using a gun to threaten a woman on the campus of Keiser University. The alleged victim told the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office that she pulled into a parking spot and noticed Kennedy reach into his vehicle and emerge with a black semi-automatic handgun that he allegedly pointed at her. WPTV-TV reported that deputies recovered a black semiautomatic Glock 27 .40 caliber handgun from Kennedy and charged him with aggravated assault with a firearm and exhibiting weapons on school property.
Meltzer & Bell, P.A. defended Matthew Notebaert, the 32-year-old Loxahatchee man charged in a 2014 crash that killed his wife while the couple was having sex. The case drew national attention from such outlets as People magazine, the New York Post, and the New York Daily News. On March 29, Notebaert pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and DUI causing injury and was sentenced to five years in prison after Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Steven Bell was able to get prosecutors—who sought a seven-year sentence—to drop related DUI manslaughter charges.