Monday, June 30, 2014

3 dead in fiery chain-reaction wreck in NW Miami-Dade


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Via Local 10:
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - "It went boom," said Evelyn Adon, who woke up to find a car in her front yard Saturday morning.

Haunting moments leading up to a crash that claimed the lives of three were caught on a surveillance camera.

Miami-Dade police said a Mercedes was likely speeding on NW 47th Avenue near 187th Street when it rear-ended a PT Cruiser. In the video, you can see an explosive, bright flash.

Police said the PT Cruiser landed in someone's front yard after it was thrown into oncoming traffic, colliding with a pickup truck before bursting into flames and killing two people inside.

"I tried to get them out. We were trying. The fire was too much. I wasn't able to do it," said Pena.

"My husband, my son tried to come and help them and he said the guy burned," said Juana Pena.

Family members said inside the was a loving couple, Zoraida and Mariano Miranda, on their way home from watching their grandchildren.

Family members held onto one another for support at the scene of their fiery death.

"Devastated, losing two people at a time. They have two kids leaving behind and three grandkids," said their niece, Maribel Barrios.

Down the block another man was dead. Witnesses said it was a young man who was behind the wheel of the Mercedes. The driver barreled through two yards, a fence and a light pole before coming to a stop.

Surveillance video shows neighbors running to help.

"He took the water hose and was putting water to the car," said neighbor Luis Forentino.

Sight of the first fire truck appears on the video 20 minutes after the crash.

The driver of the pickup truck was not hurt in the crash.

Miami-Dade Police believe speed may have been the cause of the crash.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sandor Guillen sentenced to 20 years in 2012 drunk-driving death of Kaely Camacho




Coral Gables man is sentenced to 20 years in 2012 drunk-driving death of a teen girl

by David Ovalle
Miami Herald

Her sister wailed in agony as Kaely Camacho, a 13-year-old South Miami-Dade cheerleader, lay bloodied and dying in her father’s arms after a drunken driver tore apart their minivan.

The gut-wrenching audio — captured two years ago on a 911 call — was played in court Friday, reducing Kaely’s family to sobs and setting the stage for an outpouring of grief from relatives as raw now as it was two years ago.

“We were a pair. Losing her was, and is, the hardest thing I’ve ever been through,” Bree Ann Camacho, who watched her sister die that morning, told a Miami-Dade judge during a sentencing hearing for Sandor Guillen.

The horrific wreck will cost Guillen 20 years in prison, a tough term for a crash so violent that even veteran police officers were shocked. Guillen, 40, offered no words of remorse to the court.

But his family defiantly insisted Guillen, a “God-fearing” former Coral Gables physical therapy assistant, was innocent despite overwhelming evidence and the jury’s verdict.

“He is not the monster the sensationalist media and social media have portrayed him to be,” said his sister, Sofia Jennings, who ripped police and the court proceedings. “This is nothing short of a modern-day lynching.”

In March, jurors convicted Guillen of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident.

Prosecutors said Guillen was speeding in a Land Rover — illegally, down the U.S. 1 busway — on an April morning in 2012. He plowed into the Camacho family’s minivan as it headed down Southwest 184th Street toward U.S. 1.

The impact killed Kaely, who was riding with her father, Kirk Camacho, and her 16-year-old sister, Bree Ann. They were on their way to their mother’s house to get ready for school.

The force of the impact tore away the back half of the minivan and caused a plastic cup holder to drill a large, gaping wound into the girl’s skull, killing her.

Police initially found Guillen’s mangled Land Rover empty. But an officer found him in a nearby field. He claimed he had been mugged by unknown attackers.

His DNA was found on the airbag of the Land Rover. Blood tests showed Guillen’s blood alcohol level was .226, nearly triple the legal limit.

“When Sandor Guillen drove that Land Rover, he may as well have been shooting an AK47 into a crowd,” Miami-Dade prosecutor Laura Adams told the judge. “This wasn’t an accident. This defendant was reckless.”

And firing back at the Guillen family claims, Adams added: “The media didn’t kill Kaely.”

Friday’s sentencing was so jam-packed that overflow spectators had to be seated in the jury box. Much of the crowd wore royal blue shirts, Kaely’s favorite color, while police officers lined the courtroom to watch.

Friends of Kaely presented Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer with a petition signed by 3,000 students from three high schools urging her to impose the maximum sentence, 30 years in prison.

One by one, her friends and family spoke about how Kaely’s death — and Guillen’s seeming lack of remorse — had torn them apart. “We are the ones being sentenced to life, life without Kaely,” said her mother, Angela Camacho.

Said her father, Kirk Camacho: “On that day, due to someone’s selfishness and thoughtlessness, I couldn’t do my job. I could not take care of my daughter. I could not protect her. As any parent would know, that’s the hardest thing.”

Guillen faced up to 30 years in prison. While prosecutors asked for a 26-year prison sentence, defense lawyer Jordan Lewin insisted his client had lived an honorable life helping patients in need of physical therapy. He deserved mercy, Lewin said.

But Judge Venzer sternly recounted the evidence, including his attempt to hide after the crash instead of helping the mortally wounded teen.

“Your actions, sir, brought death to a bright-eyed, smart, vibrant 13-year-old little girl with a fantastic future ahead of her,” Venzer said.

A Miami-Dade state attorney’s spokesman, Ed Griffith, said the office respected the sentence, “but we wish he had been given more time.”

Guillen also must serve two years of house arrest, plus another seven of probation after he is released from state prison. He also must make a monetary donation to a charitable donation each year on the date of Kaely’s birthday.

Her relatives, speaking to reporters after the hearing, said they hope Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which supported their anti-DUI efforts, receives the money.

“You haven’t seen the last of us,” Bree Ann Camacho told reporters. “I’m happy with the sentence and we are going to continue to fight and spread awareness of her story as long as I live.”


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Passenger falls out of private airplane flying above Biscayne Bay

via the New York Daily News:
Passenger falls out of private airplane flying above Biscayne Bay

A search effort is underway after a passenger fell out of a private airplane some 2,000 feet above Biscayne Bay off the Florida coast.

The pilot of the TA 46 Piper Malibu plane called in a mayday to report a door ajar and a passenger that had fallen out of the six-person plane, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said. The plane was traveling around 200 miles per hour when the passenger fell out of the aircraft.

The pilot subsequently safely landed at Tamiami Airport near Miami.

The search is concentrated about eight miles southeast of the airport, the spokesman said.

“We don’t assume anything,” Petty Officer Mark Barney said of the person’s chances of survival. “We’re treating it as a search and rescue operation and going from there.”

Barney said three Miami-Dade Police boats, a Dade County Fire Rescue Helicopter and a Coast Guard rescue boat were participating in the search.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says the call came at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Body of Tiffany Cabreja dumped at a South Miami-Dade construction site

WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami


An 18-year-old woman found dead and dumped in a South Miami-Dade construction site early Saturday has been identified as Tiffany Cabreja.

Miami-Dade police on Sunday continued to look for a distinct white commercial truck they believe was driven by the man who dumped Cabreja’s body about 8 a.m. A child, 2 to 3 years old, was seen in the truck, escalating the urgency for police to find the vehicle.

Early Saturday, witnesses saw a body fall out of the passenger-side of the truck driving east on Southwest 288th Street as it turned on Southwest 144th Avenue.

A 5-foot-9, black-haired man in his 30s got out and put the body back in the truck. He sported a dark T-shirt and jeans. Not long after, Miami-Dade police officers discovered Cabreja at the nearby construction site.

Video surveillance captured clear images of the open-caged cargo bed truck, which had a roll-up tarp inside. Letters were also visible on the driver’s side door.

The child’s connection to the driver or Cabreja is not clear; her family told authorities she did not have a child.

“Investigators are concerned for the welfare of the child and are seeking the assistance of the community in locating the child,” acording to a Miami-Dade police press release on Saturday.

Authorities have not released a cause of death for Cabreja.

Anyone with information can call Miami-Dade’s homicide bureau at 305-471-2400 or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

-via Miami Herald





Friday, September 20, 2013

Miami Police Chase After Double Shooting Ends With Fatal Crash, Apparent Suicide



Maritza Medina dropped her daughter at school Wednesday morning and never came home.

The 47-year old mother of two crossed paths with a man who had mortally wounded a woman and her daughter, then led police on a wild, two-county chase that ended when he barreled into Medina’s Mercedes in the far reaches of Broward County.

The impact was so fierce that Medina was ejected when her sedan spun around and split into pieces, scattering metal upon a field on the edge of the Everglades along U.S. 27 shortly before 10 a.m.

As the smoke cleared and Broward sheriff’s deputies arrived, the gunman, Antonio Feliu, 48, fired at least one shot, initiating a tense hourlong standoff with SWAT teams armed with high-powered rifles.

Television stations covered the drama live from helicopters as the law officers surrounded his SUV.

Despite knowing Feliu was armed, one Broward Sheriff’s deputy ran out into the open field and dragged Medina out of harm’s way in the hope that she was still alive.

“He certainly put himself in danger to get her to safety, but unfortunately, she had already died,’’ Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said afterward.

The standoff ended when SWAT teams launched a 40mm canister at the gunman’s rear window, shattering it. They found Feliu slumped behind the wheel, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Feliu’s cross-county trail of terror began about 9:30 a.m. when he shot his estranged girlfriend and then turned the gun on her daughter, killing them both in the efficiency they were renting in the 12300 block of 190th Street in South Miami Heights. Neighbors said they heard three shots about 7:30 a.m., but thought it was fireworks.

His ex-girlfriend, Vivian Gallego Martinez, 51, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her 28-year-old daughter, Anabel Benitez, was rushed to Kendall Regional Hospital, where she died.

Homicide detectives are still trying to determine what led to Feliu’s rampage. Records show that Feliu had a litany of traffic infractions and a 2009 arrest for drunken driving. However, there was no history of domestic problems at the address, according to Miami-Dade police.

As police cordoned off the scene, a neighbor recalled seeing Feliu driving the new Mercedes the day before.

“He waved at me yesterday when he drove by. He’s waved before,’’ Clinton Woodson said. But few neighbors knew the family well. The mother and daughter have lived in this country for about five years after emigrating from Santa Clara, Cuba.

The victims’ Facebook pages show them smiling with a newborn infant and fussing over their Yorkshire terrier. Benitez had taken classes at Miami Dade College.

“It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy,’’ Israel said at a news conference at the scene of the crash.

Meanwhile, by mid-afternoon, cars had filled the driveway at Medina’s home, and family, friends and neighbors struggled with the news.

Her daughter, a high school senior, said she last saw her mother when she dropped her off at school Wednesday morning.

“My dad came to school when I was at lunch. He was crying, and I knew something was wrong,’’ the daughter told WSVN Channel 7.

She said she didn’t know it would be the last time she saw her mother..
“I said ‘goodbye, mom,’ ” the daughter said tearfully of their parting Wednesday morning. “You never really know when you are going to see her for the last time.’’

Neighbors in the upscale community said Medina had been married to her husband, Diego, for about 25 years. She apparently worked in real estate, and records show she also owned a home-improvement business at one time.

“She was always smiling,” said next-door neighbor Ron Dover. “She was just the nicest lady.”

Neighbors said Medina would likely not have been on U.S. 27 had it not been for road barricades that have been the source of an ongoing feud between officials of Southwest Ranches and Pembroke Pines.

In recent years, Ranches closed three north-south streets to prevent Pines motorists from cutting through their neighborhoods. The barricades forced them to take U.S. 27.

“U.S. 27 is known for being dangerous,” said neighbor Frank Crandon. “This should have never happened.”

Medina was the secretary of the Trails of Pembroke Pines Homeowners Association and lived in the well-manicured home with her husband and daughter. Medina also has an older, grown daughter who no longer lives at the home.

Crandon said the family would spend weekends on another property they own in Central Florida, riding horses.

“They were just a good family,’’ he said.

About 5 p.m., two mangled cars were removed from the scene. Zachary Luck, who lives nearby, saw the crash on television. He pointed out that Medina could have been anyone’s mother, daughter, sister or friend; she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I can’t believe how reckless someone can be,” he said of the man in the Mercedes. “What a coward.”

-via The Miami Herald

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/18/v-print/3634687/after-shooting-and-deadly-crash.html#storylink=cpy


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Monday, January 28, 2013

Shots fired at rapper Rick Ross in Ft. Lauderdale

WSVN-TV
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Fort Lauderdale Police have gathered dozens of bullet casings from Las Olas Boulevard after someone opened fire on a vehicle. According to witnesses, Rapper Rick Ross was inside that vehicle.

Several gunshots were heard in the area of 1410 E Las Olas Blvd., around 5 a.m. According to locals, they said Rapper Rick Ross was in the Floridian Restaurant celebrating his Birthday and as he left in his Rolls Royce, someone opened fire. Police have not confirmed this information.

The bullets missed the Rolls Royce but the vehicle slammed into the restaurant. Luckily, police said no one was injured by the gunfire. Several businesses in the area were hit by bullets.

The vehicle has since been towed from the scene.

Police continue to investigate.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hollywood gas station clerk kills robber

video via WSVN-TV


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- A would-be robber is dead after being shot by a store clerk at a South Florida gas station.

The shooting happened just after midnight, Tuesday, at the Exxon near State Road Seven and Southwest 52nd Street. Investigators said two armed robbers barged into the store firing at the store clerk, forcing the clerk to return fire with his own gun. "One tried to rob the gas station, and one was shot by the clerk," said an unidentified employee.

"The clerk was armed, at which point multiple shots were exchanged between the clerk and the suspect; the suspect was struck," said Hollywood Police Sergeant Pablo Venegas.

Police said a homeless man alerted the store clerk prior to the robbery. They said he watched as the two men put on hooded sweatshirts and masks moments before they rushed into the store. "Right behind them, before the clerk had called 911, the suspects entered," said Venegas. "They brandished a firearm."

The wounded would-be robber succumbed to his injuries and died on scene. "It's sad someone died but got to make a living," said the employee.

Police said the second subject was nabbed a few blocks away in a white getaway car.

The store clerk will not face any charges.

Police continue to investigate.