Drinking and Driving while operating an ATV is bad. Drinking and driving while on duty as a Miami Beach Police Officer is very bad, and will get you fired.
The story goes something like this. Officer Derick Kuilan was assigned to robbery detail on the beach Sunday and officer Rolando Gutierrez was assigned to patrol Mid-Beach. But at some point, the two officers met up at the Clevelander where Adelee Sharie Martin, 27, was partying with a bride-to-be.
As reported by The Miami Herald, at around 5 a.m., Kuilan and Martin jumped onto a department ATV and peeled south down the beach with the headlights off. At 5:13 a.m., near Fourth Street, Kuilan lost control of the vehicle and slammed into Luis Almonte, of North Miami, and Kitzie Nicanor, from Washington state.
Martin flew from the vehicle. Almonte, 29, suffered a broken femur that required surgery. He remains at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. And Nicanor, 28, underwent surgery at Jackson Memorial’s Ryder Trauma Center, where police say she remains in stable condition.
Jonnathan Adames, a friend of Almonte’s who was heading out to meet him on the beach just before the crash, said he heard the thud from the impact and ran over to see Almonte bloody and screaming, and Nicanor swollen and motionless with her eyes rolling back in the sockets. He said Kuilan asked him to help with the victim, but then quickly disappeared.
Police and investigators with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office are looking into allegations that Kulian had been drinking. Nonetheless, Police say they are moving to fire Kuilan and Gutierrez because they engaged in “conduct unbecoming [of] a police officer” and for actions amounting to “dereliction of duties.” Both officers were relieved of duty.
Sunday’s crash was not the first time that Miami Beach police have injured or killed beach visitors. In 2003, a French woman was killed when a police SUV ran over her and her sister while they were sunbathing. Witnesses said that the officer was not using a siren and the two women did not see the vehicle coming.
No criminal charges were brought against the police officer, but the victims’ family reached a $1.5 million settlement with the city of Miami Beach.
In April 1999, another city vehicle ran over a pregnant woman on the beach at nearly the same spot. The woman, Lupe Eyde-Tucker, and her unborn child survived, despite Eyde-Tucker’s suffering a crushed pelvis, broken ribs and head injuries after being hit by a city beach patrol officer.
A Peruvian tourist was also run over in November 1993 by a beach patrol vehicle while sunbathing.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.