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Mom who lost son in Cooper City crash tells driver: "I forgive you"

Mother of Cooper City crash victim asks Fort Lauderdale judge for mercy
Mother of Cooper City crash victim asks Fort Lauderdale judge for mercy 00:44

FORT LAUDERDALE – It was a gut-wrenching day in court for a mother whose son was killed in a Cooper City crash where allegedly his best friend was driving under the influence.

Justice Fielder, who died in a car crash Saturday, spoke to Ivan Billie Jr. Billie is accused of drunken driving and speeding, crashing his car so violently it split in two in the wreck that killed Fielder, his lifetime best friend.

"Your honor, I came here to Florida to bring my son home, unfortunately not the way any mother should have to," Elaina Fielder said in court Tuesday.

Authorities allege Billie's 2023 Chevrolet Camaro was traveling nearly 160 mph early Saturday just before it rammed into two trees, hopped the median on Sheridan Street near University Avenue, then plowed into and knocked over a concrete light pole. Billie is facing several charges, including DUI resulting in death and vehicular homicide. Prosecutors said Sunday that Billie's blood alcohol level was .239% at the hospital after the crash.

"My son loved him like a brother and I know he's not going to rest if I don't forgive," Fielder told the judge Tuesday during the bond hearing. 

That's when she turned and looked into Billie's face.

"I forgive you. And I need you to forgive yourself because that's what Justice would have wanted for you," Fielder said. 

In court, visitors saw body cam video of the grisly scene. 

Detectives say the car's black box showed it was going 157 miles per hour seconds before the crash. Footage showed Billie, bloodied after the crash, speaking to officers. 

"I'm worried about you because you're bleeding," a deputy said to Billie in the recording. "Ya, I am bleeding, because I was in a car accident," Billie responded.

Prosecutors have said Billie changed his story about what happened. 

"You said you were in a car accident?" asked the deputy in the recording. 

"No," said Billie, "No, I wasn't." 

Billie is being held without bond and prosecutors are asking the judge to keep him in jail until his trial. Members of both Billie's and Fielder's families asked the judge to set a bond.

"I watched them grow up together. He would always come to the house," said Billie's father Ivan Billie, Sr., addressing the court.

"I know him. I know Ivan. And so I ask the court to have mercy on him," Elaina Fielder said. 

The judge has not yet ruled on the bond request. He plans to release a written ruling soon. 

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