Firefighter arrested after road rage incident
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A Miami-Dade firefighter was arrested Thursday following a road rage incident that escalated when he confronted the driver while posing as a police officer, officials said.
"The way he was acting and stuff, I was in fear for my life," said 59-year-old Alejandro Ravelo, who was driving down Southwest 81st Drive when he said he became the victim of road rage. "The way he jumped out, he was raging."
Police said 52-year-old Miami-Dade firefighter Osvaldo Alvarez was the driver who pulled over alongside Ravelo. "He went past, I put on my emergency blinkers, and I stopped, but he got in front of me, and he jumped out of the truck," said Ravelo. "The way he looked, I just took off around him and went to where [there's] a bunch of people, cause I was afraid."
Ravelo drove to a shopping center parking lot in the 8300 block of Southwest 81st Avenue with Alvarez in pursuit. Alvarez got out of his truck, approached Ravelo's car and banged on his hood.
Witnesses at a workout class who saw Alvarez said he was angry, screaming at Ravelo that he was a police officer. "He said, 'I'm a cop,' and then we saw the firefighter emblem on his car, so we figured it was kind of weird," said witness Cathy Silva.
Alvarez's arrest report backs witness reports. "The defendant stated to the victim, 'I could arrest you for trying to run me over!'" the statement reads.
Mitch Beckton, who witnessed Alvarez' irate behavior, said he began to grow suspicious of his claims and called 911 after confronting him. "He kept harassing the guy, screaming," he said. "Well, if he's a cop that doesn't make sense."
Miami-Dade Police arrived on the scene and arrested Alvarez. On Friday, he faced Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Victoria R. Brennan and was charged with impersonating a police officer.
Ravelo said at one point Alvarez reached through the driver's side window and grabbed his hand. The alleged victim suffered an injury on his ring finger and is currently wearing a splint.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Arnold Piedrahita released a statement that reads, "He was hired by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue on Nov. 3, 2003, but we have no further comment at this time."
Police said Alvarez had been arrested in 2002 for pretending to be a law enforcer. No action was taken in that case.
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