Health Club Mogul Drinking Before Fatal Crash: Cops

Roger Wittenberns, girlfriend were allegedly speeding in matching yellow sports cars
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2016 7:55 AM CDT
Health Club Mogul Drinking Before Fatal Crash: Cops
Police say speed and alcohol were likely factors in a fatal crash involving health club chain Roger Wittenberns' Lamborghini, pictured here after last week's crash.   (Delray Beach Police via Facebook)

Florida police say a heath club chain mogul and his girlfriend had been drinking when they hopped into matching luxury yellow sports cars shortly before Roger Wittenberns' speeding Lamborghini plowed into an SUV, killing the 82-year-old driver last Wednesday. Wittenberns, 60, and longtime girlfriend, Patty Ann McQuiggin, 61, were allegedly speeding side by side in Delray Beach, reports the Palm Beach Post, when witnesses say Wittenberns' car struck a Buick Enclave driven by J. Gerald Smith, per WPTV. Smith, a retiree who was earning extra money driving for Uber, died soon after the crash. Wittenberns, the multimillionaire founder of the Lady of America fitness club chain, was thrown from the car but survived and was hospitalized in serious condition. McQuiggin allegedly ditched her Porsche, fled the scene, and refused to give a statement to police.

But Wittenberns told police in an "extensive" interview the couple had spent the afternoon eating and drinking downtown before the crash, per WPTV. No charges have been filed yet, though police said speed and alcohol were factors, per the Post. Wittenberns often posted photos of his luxury cars on his Facebook page, which was taken down. Both Wittenberns and McQuiggin have been arrested previously for driving under the influence, he in 1999 and 2000, and she for the second time 2003. Both had their licenses suspended after the second offense, per the Post. Meanwhile, Smith was remembered as "just a super guy always with a smile on his face," as a former colleague told the Sun Sentinel. An online fundraising campaign has raised more than $6,800 for funeral expenses. "I made him dinner and he didn’t come home," his wife, Eloise Smith, told the Post. (More Florida stories.)

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