Family still questions fatal police-involved crash
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (WSVN) -- A family continues to fight for answers in the wake of a tragic police-involved crash that took the life of the daughter of a Miami-Dade school board member.
Wednesday morning, her loved ones spoke at a news conference. They want to know what led to the killer crash, but, they say, police have remained tight-lipped. "This has been very difficult," said Miami-Dade School Board Member Susie Castillo. "My family and I are completely devastated about what has happened to my daughter. My daughter had just turned 21 the day before the accident."
Family and friends said Andrea was celebrating her birthday on the night of Oct. 19 when the black Jeep Compass, driven by her 23-year-old boyfriend, Marco Barrios, and an unmarked vehicle driven by Hialeah Police officer Raul Somarriba collided. According to police, Somarriba was on-duty at the time of the crash. "Everybody want' justice, right?" said Barrios' sister, Hazel Gorrin. "We want to know what's going on."
The accident occurred on East Ninth Court and 49th Street in Hialeah. "My family and I have lots of questions," said Castillo. "I grew up in Hialeah. I'm a citizen of Hialeah, and honestly, as someone who loved that city, it really hurts. I'm very angry."
Castillo said she has many questions for the Hialeah Police Department. "I was never contacted by the police department on the night of the accident," she said. "I found out because friends of her told me."
The newly elected school board member said she has received little information from the police ever since the accident. "We've gotten nothing from the City of Hialeah Police Department," she said.
However, a Hialeah Police spokesperson said the investigation remains open and on-going, and they cannot discuss the matter until they close that investigation. An initial investigation, according to police, indicates that Barrios ran a stop sign.
Marco and Andrea's families are both represented by attorneys. They have countered the police department's claims that Marco was at fault and that the couple was not wearing seat belts. "Marco had identifying marks to the shoulder," said attorney John Leighton, "exactly where the shoulder belt would be going over the shoulder. The belt would come across the collar bone."
But, Castillo said, she would like more information beyond who may be at fault. Both families are very upset that the officer was airlifted to the hospital and her daughter was transported via ground. She later died at the hospital. She was the only fatality in the accident. The mother said, "Because of this, as a mother and as a citizen, I am demanding an independent investigation from an independent agency."
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