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Hit-And-Run Suspects In Death Of Venezuelan Woman May Have Committed Other Serious Crimes

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There are new developments in a horrific hit-and-run crash in Miami last Tuesday night that took the life of a 23-year-old Venezuelan woman.

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina tells CBS4's Peter D'Oench that the driver of the speeding Mustang that hit the car Ciarah Ramirez was in and his passenger may have been involved in previous, serious, violent crimes in another jurisdiction.

Colina also revealed that the speeding car may have also been the subject of a police pursuit that is also being investigated by internal affairs.

Law enforcement sources told CBS4 that five Miami police officers and a sergeant were relieved of duties late Tuesday afternoon and have been reassigned to duties indoors as a result of the investigation into whether there was a proper police pursuit in this case.

It happened at 9:30 last Tuesday night May 5th. Police said a speeding Mustang broadsided a Subaru that Ramirez was in. She was ejected from the vehicle at Miami Avenue and 36th Street. Her husband, Robert, and a close friend were critically injured and rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital. They have since been released.

A GoFundMe page was launched to raise expenses for the Ramirez family and pay for the cost of sending Ciarah's body back to her native Venezuela where her parents live.

At the time, her cousin, Andrea Ramirez, said, "It's so sad that a young girl like that who was so smart and talented and beautiful has passed away. We are very saddened and hurt. We are in shock. We don't understand this or how it happened. Our hope are with the police and that they find them and see exactly what happened and make sure they pay for it."

A makeshift memorial with balloons, stuffed animals and a photo of Ramirez have been left at the site of the crash right next to a well-known furniture store, the Addison House, where plywood has been put up after display windows were obliterated by the accident.

A week after this accident, Colina had strong words about the suspects.

"I think at the end of the day these were bad guys who were just extremely reckless and who didn't care who they harmed and how they harmed them. That driver absolutely knew that someone was either seriously harmed or he possibly killed someone and left with total disregard for what happened at that intersection and that is very heinous.

"It is an ongoing problem with people taking off and what we've seen with COVID-19 because there are far fewer cars on the street people think they can drive at a high rate of speed and drive more recklessly. I don't think that was the case in this instance but we have seen that happening.

"We have been communicating with another agency and Peter I will leave the name out because I don't want to inadvertently give out information that will hinder our investigation. It's our understanding that the vehicle and the individuals in that vehicle are potentially involved with criminal activity in another jurisdiction. We are having ongoing discussions with another agency and those folks are being investigated."

"It is my understanding that they're involved in very serious violent crimes.

"There is no video evidence that right when the vehicle went through the intersection and collided with a car that there were police right behind it. But we are certainly investigating city of Miami police vehicles that may have engaged that vehicle at any time. I can tell you right now that is a joint investigation between our internal affairs and our traffic homicide investigators and that kind of gives you an idea of how we are approaching this."

Colina said there are strict guidelines for pursuits.

"It gives us the opportunity to call off pursuits or authorize pursuits depending upon the circumstances," he said. "Obviously if any officer violated policies they would be held accountable."

Colina said police were aggressively pursuing this case.

"We have several people who we have identified," he said. "We have been trying to find out what they have been doing and why and this is all very active."

Anyone with information should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477). There is a reward of up to $3,000.

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