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Miami Lakes "Treegate" May Get FDLE Probe

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) --  Did Mayor Michael Pizzi catch a break after he hit a tree last week and left the scene of the accident? At Miami Lakes town hall now a call for an independent investigation of how Miami-Dade police handled the mayor's crash.

When Pizzi returned to the scene he told police he had been driving home from a meeting at city hall, swerved to avoid an animal and hit the tree.

But as CBS4 News exlusively reported Thursday, Pizzi had been at the bar of the Cancun Grill before the collision. The night manager of the Cancun Grill confirmed the mayor was there, but would not say what, if anything, he had to drink.

Pizzi repeatedly told CBS4 in an interview Thursday that he could not recall being at the bar, but he insisted he had consumed no alcohol.

A 911 caller said Pizzi didn't just leave the scene, but ran from his smashed car. Pizzi said he went to his home to call for a tow truck and have a friend tend to a cut on his head.

The 911 caller, Sandro Alvarez, told CBS4 Friday it was curious that Pizzi went to his home - nearly three quarters of a mile away - when the crash happened in front a small private hospital that was open, and just a short distance away from a fire station.

Alvarez was livid to learn Pizzi wasn't charged with anything.

"I don't believe a regular citizen would have the same rights to run away from a scene, and be able to come back whenever they felt it was okay to come back to the scene," Alvarez said.

At town hall, there was a call for a special meeting to consider whether the Florida Department Of Law Enforcement (FDLE) should be asked to probe how Miami-Dade police handled the Pizzi crash.

"There seems to be more questions unanswered now than there was last week, especially in light of your report," Councilman Ceasar Mestre told CBS4's Gary Nelson.

Among the questions, why was the police report, that says Pizzi showed no evidence of impairment, written by an officer who never saw or talked to Pizzi the night of the crash.

"Having been a former police officer, that is I would say something out of the norm, because normally you do your report based on your observations," said Councilman Mestre.

Miami-Dade police say the officer who wrote the report relied on what other cops told him.

Pizzi told CBS4 the call for an outside probe is motivated by politics. He said the chairman of the public safety committee that asked the council to request an FDLE investigation is the son of a political opponent who Pizzi trounced in a prior election.


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