Mother Blames DJ for Son's Death
MIAMI (CN) - A Miami disc jockey "recklessly" turned on the engines to a boat, killing a man in the water trying to dislodge it from a sandbar, the man's mother claims in court.
DJ Laz, aka Lazaro Mendez, was operating a Voli Vodka promotional boat at a Sandbar party hosted by the liquor company, of which Miami rapper Pitbull is a spokesperson and co-owner, when it got stuck in the sandbar, according to the complaint in Miami-Dade County Court.
Instead of calling for a tow, the mother says, DJ Laz asked the party's patrons for help, and Ernesto Hernandez, 23, joined the effort to push the boat free, but was killed when DJ Laz "recklessly engaged the throttle of the engines."
Maricel Valdez, as personal representative of the estate of Ernesto Hernandez, sued DJ Laz, Voli Spirits LLC, Park Street Imports LLC and Plantation Boat Mart & Marina, alleging gross negligence.
On May 4, Voli Vodka hosted a party at Nixon sandbar in Key Biscayne, Florida that featured DJ Laz and Pitbull, the complaint states.
It adds: "The alcohol-fueled party raged on for hours."
Around 7 p.m., the 40-ft. Hydro Sport Open Fisherman Voli promotional boat DJ Laz was driving became stuck in the sandbar, and the captain asked partygoers to help him, the mother claims.
Hernandez, who just graduated from the Police Academy, got behind the boat to push it when DJ Laz turned on the four engines, sucking Hernandez into the motors' propellers, Hernandez's mother says.
Hernandez was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital.
"There was drinking on board the Voli/Plantation boat, as well as scantily clad young women, dancing, loud music and friends of DJ Laz," the complaint states.
When asked if DJ Laz was intoxicated at the scene, Valdez's lead attorney Carlos Silva told Courthouse News, "I know [DJ Laz] refused a Breathalyzer, and the investigation is ongoing."
DJ Laz is a Miami radio personality, having hosted a morning show for 22 years before quitting two years ago to pursue other endeavors.
Silva told Courthouse News the family seeks damages in excess of $15,000, with the final amount to be determined through discovery.
The family is represented by Carlos Silva and Percy Martinez of Silva & Silva in Coral Gables.