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Cops: Speed Not A Factor In Deadly Hialeah Police-Involved Crash

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Speed was not a factor in a police-involved accident that sent three people to the hospital, Hialeah Police Spokesman Carl Zogby said Tuesday.

Hialeah Police and Fire Rescue officials decided to release information about the investigation after concerns were raised regarding the treatment of the victims in this case, police said.

An attorney for the family said Andrea Castillo, the daughter of newly-elected Miami-Dade school board member Susie Castillo, died Sunday after the accident along E 49th Street and 9th Court.

As of Tuesday afternoon, attorney Jorge Silva said Castillo's body was still being preserved at the hospital until doctors could harvest her organs.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho expressed his sympathy Tuesday for his friend and colleague.

"Losing a child is not natural and we feel it deeply in our hearts," Carvalho said.

Castillo, 21, and her boyfriend, Marco Barrios, 23, were in a black Jeep Compass that collided with an unmarked police cruiser driven by veteran officer Raul Somarriba, police said.

"The outcry from the public has been so great that we want to update everyone," Zogby said.

Investigators said Barrios violated the stop sign at the intersection and ended up in the path of Somarriba's cruiser.

"This is a stop-sign accident. Nothing more. Nothing less," Zogby said.

At a news conference Tuesday, Zogby emphasized the fact that excessive speed was not a factor, a claim Silva disputes.

"There are more than 40 yards, more than 140 feet, of skid marks," the attorney said. Silva added it would be nearly impossible to create skid marks of that length unless a person was speeding.

Officer Somarriba was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Castillo and Barrios were not. They were transported via ambulance.

Hialeah Fire Department Captain Cesar Espinosa said all three victims made it to the hospital within 30 minutes.

"Air rescue transported the police officer because he met the highest degree of severity of injuries at the time they were triaged," Capt. Espinosa explained.

Espinosa added the use of air rescue "provides neither greater nor lesser quality of care for those patients."

Silva also found fault with that statement.

"That is preposterous," Silva said. "Coupled with the fact that if it has no benefit, you must ask yourself, why is it that officer Somarriba was transported via air?"

Officer Somarriba underwent 10 hours of surgery and faces long term disability, Zogby said.

"The results of this accident, the tragedy of our community, only serves to emphasize the importance of traffic safety," Det. Zogby said.

Police confirmed there is surveillance video of the wreck.

They said they will release it at the conclusion of the investigation.

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