Teen Killed in Tamarac Crash Remembered as ‘Ray of Sunshine’

Teen Killed in Tamarac Crash Remembered as 'Ray of Sunshine'

Michael Mills Jr., of Coral Springs. {Courtesy Family}

By Kevin Deutsch

An 18-year-old man killed in a crash in Tamarac is being remembered by his family as “our ray of sunshine” and a beloved friend and colleague.

Michael Mills Jr., of Coral Springs, was driving east in a gray 2011 Infiniti G37 near the 8100 block of Southgate Boulevard on May 21 when a Toyota Corolla changing lanes struck the Infiniti around 6:42 p.m., sending it careening into a tree, according to Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives.

Tamarac Fire Rescue paramedics rushed Mills Jr. to Broward Health North to treat his extensive injuries. He died there six days later.

In a GoFundMe fundraiser post, Mills Jr.’s sister, April Mills,  said her brother “had to be placed under temporary paralysis for several days, which caused him not to hear or see us at all.”

“Michael was placed on a ventilator due to the extent of his injuries for what felt like an eternity of a long seven days,” Mills wrote. “He had surgery done on his femur which was completely broken, [they] had to do surgery in his liver, massive internal bleeding as well as needing surgery done on his lungs [due] to the impact of the crash…Michael did not make it.”

Mills Jr. had been in the Infiniti with passenger Jaileen Mitchell, an 18-year-old female from Tamarac, who was taken to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries, according to BSO.

“[Michael] was…just from coming off of work spending time with his lovely coworkers shortly after looking forward to the rest of his night,” April Mills wrote. “Our brother, our Mommy’s baby, is and forever will be our ray of sunshine. He is the glue that holds us, the pride and joy, the missing puzzle piece to complete us.”

“Our brother was 18 years old and had so much more life to live for. So many more memories that were to be made. He will forever be with us without a question.”

The Mills are raising money for Michael’s funeral and medical bills. The GoFundMe page had raised over $4,700 toward its $50,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon.

“We appreciate every single person that has reached out on behalf of Michael, sending us so much love, memories, and prayers,” April Mills said in the post. “God bless you all. We love you endlessly.”

Detectives with the Broward Sheriff’s Office Traffic Homicide Unit are still investigating the crash, and no charges had been announced as of Thursday.

Detectives said their preliminary investigation revealed the Corolla’s driver, Nicole Rivera-Vazquez, 18, of North Lauderdale, and a male juvenile passenger were traveling east on Southgate Boulevard when Rivera-Vazquez attempted to change lanes by maneuvering the gray 2023 Toyota into the inside thru-lane.

At some point, the rear driver’s side of the Toyota struck the front passenger side of the Infiniti, and authorities said both cars entered the center median, detectives said.

Once in the median, the Infinity struck a tree and came to a final rest. The Toyota continued through the median, hit a small tree, and traveled into the opposing westbound traffic lanes, where it came to a stop facing eastbound, detectives said.

Detectives said excessive speed was not considered a factor in the crash.

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Author Profile

Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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