FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A former Olympic wrestler who crashed his sport utility vehicle into a crowded terminal building at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (search) was hospitalized for psychological evaluation, an official said Monday.
Alexis Vila (search), 33, of Williamston, Mich., was taken into custody after he ran from his SUV following Sunday's crash. He suffered minor scrapes. No one else was injured.
Vila was held at the hospital under the Baker Act (search), 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 (search) ticket counter, Leljedal said. Authorities previously said they did not suspect terrorism.
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 gonna 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 Summer Olympics in Atlanta eight years ago, Vila won the bronze medal for Cuba in the 105.5-pound division. He wrestled for Cuba from 1993 to 1996, never placing lower than third in any world championship event. After winning a gold medal at the 1997 Pan-American Games (search), Vila defected.
After moving to Michigan, he became a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at Michigan State in 2000. Vila left the team by 2003, said MSU assistant wrestling coach Roger Chandler.