Lawyer: Racecar driver not impaired at time of crash

By Jeff Weinsier, Investigative Reporter, jweinsier@Local10.com
Ross Palombo, Investigative Reporter, rpalombo@Local10.com
Published On: Jan 20 2012 04:30:49 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 21 2012 05:13:29 PM EST

A Brazilian racecar driver arrested after police said his SUV hit and killed a man in Miami Beach has bonded out of the Miami-Dade County Jail.

MIAMI -

A Brazilian racecar driver arrested after police said his SUV hit and killed a man in Miami Beach has bonded out of the Miami-Dade County Jail. 

Bond for Joao Paulo Escudero Mauro, known as J.P. Mauro, was set at $250,000. 

Mauro, whose family has a condo in Aventura, had to surrender his passport and must wear a GPS monitoring system. 

Attorneys for Mauro tried to convince Judge Mindy Glazer that their client wasn't impaired early Thursday when he veered off of Collins Avenue, jumped a sidewalk and slammed his Mercedes SUV into Russell Knudson, 45, killing him. Knudson was attempting to put his bicycle into a rear door of a four-wheel-drive Toyota when the SUV hit him. 

"He rode everywhere on his bike," said Knudson's brother, Steve. "He was a nice guy."

The attorney for Mauro, Daniel Lurvey, said there was no probable cause in the affidavit indicating that Mauro was impaired while he was driving.

"What about the white powdery substance?” asked Miami-Dade Judge Mindy Glazer. 

"The white powdery substance can be attributed to the airbag that deployed in his face," Lurvey told the judge. 

Lurvey told the judge this was a horrible accident, and that his client had swerved off of Collins Avenue at 1:30 a.m. to avoid a car that had stopped in front of him. 

Mauro was charged with driving under the influence manslaughter, vehicular homicide and possession of cocaine. 

Mauro’s attorneys said their client was cooperative at the scene. 

"He, the defendant, says, ‘Please let me give a urine test.’ He gives a urine test," said Lurvey 

Mauro's attorney claimed his client was well under the legal limit. 

"The breath tests was a .007 (percent) -- not .07, but point 007. There is nothing indicating that he is impaired," Lurvey said. 

The state was asking that bond be set at $500,000.

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