FORT LAUDERDALE (AP) - A former Olympic wrestler who crashed his sport utility vehicle into a crowded terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood
International Airport was hospitalized for psychological evaluation, an official said Monday.
Alexis Vila, 33, of Williamston, Mich., was taken into custody after he ran from his SUV following Sunday's crash. He sustained minor scrapes. No one
else was injured.
Vila was held at the hospital under the Baker Act, which allows authorities to hold people in protective custody for 72 hours for mental evaluations
if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others, sheriff's spokesman Jim Leljedal said Monday.
"He's just going to stay at the hospital," Leljedal said.
Investigators don't know why Vila drove into the unmanned Southeast Airlines ticket counter, Leljedal said. Authorities previously said they did not
It was unclear if Vila, who defected from Cuba in 1997, had been charged.
The SUV slammed into a Southeast Airlines ticket counter and smashed through a wall before stopping. Two sheriff's deputies and a federal air marshal
tackled Vila as he tried to escape and took him into custody, officials said.
Witnesses described hearing a tremendous boom as the SUV burst through two sets of automatic doors. "We thought it was terrorists," June DeLuca told
The Miami Herald. "I thought we were all going to die."
The crash raised questions about security at the airport, and about why a recommendation that barriers be placed in front of the airport's terminals
was not followed. Airport officials did not return a call seeking comment Sunday.
At the Atlanta Olympics eight years ago, Vila won the bronze medal for Cuba in the 105.5-pound division. He wrestled for Cuba from 1993-96, never
placing lower than third in any world championship event. After winning a gold medal at the 1997 Pan American Games, Vila defected.
After moving to Michigan, he became a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at Michigan State in 2000. Vila left the team by 2003, MSU assistant
wrestling coach Roger Chandler said.