An aspiring nurse’s sudden death in West Palm Beach, FL has rocked one family to its core. Andreline Silus, 24, was killed after being hit by a 20-year-old driver that was going above the speed limit on January 16. The former nursing student at Palm Beach Atlantic University is being remembered for her kindness and willingness to help others, but her loved ones are calling for justice and accountability.
A Devastating Loss
The family of Silus gathered outside the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office on Tuesday holding photos of Andreline and the crash scene where her car was impaled. They are asking the state to indict Ryan Dolan for causing the accident that led to Silus’ death, but the state has so far refused to press charges. Records show Dolan was traveling 93 mph in a 45-mph zone.
The police don’t suspect alcohol or drugs were involved.
In response to the family’s requests, the state attorney’s office said, “Excessive speed alone isn’t enough to charge someone with vehicular homicide.”
“Prosecutors thoroughly reviewed the information gathered by law enforcement and determined there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges in the case,” the state commented.
But Richard Ryles, the attorney representing the family, says there are other factors at play.
“There were multiple factors than just speed. The roadway was wet. The accident occurred in a residential area. If you look and read the statements, there was a drag race going on between Dolan and his friend,” Ryles said just before the rally.
The police report shows that Dolan was driving alongside another speeding car at the time of the accident.
Dolan received a speeding ticket, but the family wants to see him behind bars.
Criminal Defense Attorney Gregg Lerman, who is familiar with the case, says the state may still decide to press charges as the investigation continues.
“It may be negligent conduct, improper and against the law, but obviously rising to that extreme level of recklessness, that’s what [Ryles] is looking at. There’s always a point when speeding is not just simply speeding,” Lerman said. “A state attorney has the statute of limitations to reevaluate a case. They will look at new facts that might come forward.”
But local legal analyst Michelle Suskauer says it’s ultimately up to the state to decide.
“The State Attorney’s Office, their job is to do what’s just and what’s right,” said Suskauer, “and if they do not feel in their discretion that they can present a case and potentially prove beyond a reasonable doubt, then that’s their call.”
Multiple organizations were involved in the protest, including the NAACP, Set Neighborhood Alliance, and the Palm Beach Black Caucus.
Silus’ family believes the state’s decision not to convict Dolan is racially motivated.
“We want Mr. Dolan prosecuted. We want him to be held to the same justice as every other American is held to. Right now, the right thing hasn’t been done,” Richard Ryles said.
The protesters also honored Silus for her kindness. Her last act was to give a co-worker a ride home just before the fatal crash.
Darlene Silus called her Andreline around 2 AM local time while she was driving home from work. Thirty minutes later, she was dead.
“Her smile that’s what I’m going to remember most about her, she’s funny, she’s the youngest of five of us,” said Darlene.
Under Florida law, aggressive driving is punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
“For us not to get any justice and she’s not here, it’s just killing us,” said Darlene Silus. “It’s not right.”
Road rage incidents have become increasingly prevalent across the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and drivers should stay alert.