Miami-area police chief wants officer who "failed to render aid" fired

Dash cam video of accident scene in Pinecrest, Dade County, Fla.
Police dash cam

MIAMI -- The police chief of the village of Pinecrest, near Miami, Fla., wants one of his officers who was caught on camera failing to render aid after a horrific accident fired, reports CBS Miami.

Pinecrest Police Chief Samuel Ceballos recommended Tuesday the termination of Officer Ana Carrasco.

“The Village Manager will review evidence and hear testimony before making a final decision in regards to Police Chief Ceballos’ recommendation,” according to a statement from the Village of Pinecrest.

 Carrasco has been placed on administrative leave with pay while awaiting the decision. She has ten days to file an appeal.

The accident occurred October 16th, 2013, when a driver struck two University of Miami graduate students, Ying Chen and Hao Liu.

Off-duty Miami Police Sergeant Javier Ortiz happened to be in the area and came upon the scene immediately.

“I jumped out of my car, I have a defibrillator, and checked the vitals on both victims,” said Ortiz. “I immediately started CPR on the female. It was just me. I had no one to work on the male and I was waiting for help to arrive.”

When Carrasco arrived on the scene, dash cam video from her patrol car showed the officer standing with her hands in her pockets watching Ortiz try to help the stricken female student.

Ortiz said he begged her to help.

“I said it again and again and again,” Ortiz said. “There were people, civilians, yelling at her to please do something and she did absolutely nothing.”

In recorded statements, witnesses said Officer Carrasco did not help the victims.

When questioned as part of an internal affairs investigation, Carrasco reportedly said she gave Ortiz a pair of gloves when he asked for them, told bystanders to back away from the scene and tried to locate the vehicle that hit the victims which was stopped a short distance away.

A recording of Carrasco’s statement says, “I actually made a visual assessment on the male facing down. I didn’t see him breathing I didn’t see his lungs or chest expanding or any signs of life.”

Later she said, “Based on my training, education, experience I was concerned flipping the male victim over. I was concerned it could cause cervical or spinal injury and maybe kill him. I don’t know if he’s dead or not. I run back to my car to see if I have more gloves to see if I can search for any vital signs at that time rescue arrived.”

She said she never checked vital signs because she didn’t have another pair of gloves.

In the end, neither Chen nor Liu survived.

A thirty-two page investigative report by Pinecrest Police, obtained by CBS4 News, found Officer Carrasco failed to render aid at an accident involving serious injury.

Ervin Gonzalez, the attorney representing the families of both students, says CPR efforts would have not made a difference for either victim, but no one knew that at the time. While one officer acted heroically, Gonzalez said, the other shirked her duty as an officer and a human being.