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Hialeah police comment on officer-involved crash starstarstarstarstar

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HIALEAH, Fla. (WSVN) — The Hialeah Police Department’s investigation continues after a young woman involved in a police-involved car crash was declared brain dead.

On Tuesday, Hialeah Police said that the officer who was involved in a deadly crash did not cause the accident.

Officials said they have surveillance video that shows the driver of the sport utility vehicle involved in the deadly crash with an unmarked police cruiser did not have the right of way, adding that the passengers were not wearing their seat belts. “It is apparent in this investigation thus far, that the driver, Marco Barrios, violated the stop sign and proceeded through the intersection, placing himself in the path of the on-coming police car,” said Hialeah Police Department spokesperson Carl Zogby.

Twenty-one-year-old Andrea Castillo was declared brain dead on Sunday following the Friday night crash. Andrea remains at Jackson Memorial Hospital on life support while her organs are being donated. “I just need people’s prayers for her,” said mother Susie Castillo. “For God to keep her, and to take care of her.”

Family and friends said Andrea had just turned 21 on Thursday, and she was celebrating her birthday Friday night, when the black Jeep Compass, driven by her 23-year-old boyfriend, Marco Barrios, and an unmarked police vehicle driven by on-duty officer Raul Somarriba collided.

The Hialeah Fire Department said everyone on the scene received appropriate care, and that there was no preferential treatment. They said the victims arrived at the appropriate hospitals from 30 minutes from the crash. “Air rescue is a resource available to our fire department to transport patients who have traumatic injuries,” said Hialeah Fire Department Captain Cesar Espinosa. “Its use provides neither greater nor lesser quality of care for those patients.”

Castillo’s family attorney Jorge Silva, doesn’t agree with the fire department. “And the fact that this chopper was on scene and airlifted someone that was alert and oriented, and able to communicate, but did not airlift a young girl who was hanging on to dear life, perhaps its because they didn’t know that her mother was an elected official,” said Silva.

Somarriba was airlifted to JMH with a fractured arm, leg and head injuries. He is expected to survive.

Andrea and Barrios were transported to JMH by ambulance.

Barrios remains in the intensive care unit. His family has hired an attorney. “I’m disgusted about the fact that they went ahead and held a press conference, and are trying to blame the victim here,” said Barrios’ attorney John Leighton.

Leighton said his own investigation reveals that the collision happened as the officer was driving with his headlights off and speeding around 100 miles per hour.

He said part of the proof is that the officer was excessively speeding. “The crash damage is consistent with the vehicle crash in excess of 80 miles per hour,” said Leighton.

Andrea’s mother was recently elected to the Miami-Dade School Board. Both mother and daughter worked for the City of Doral.

Mayor JC Bermudez released a statement to the family: “I would like to express my deepest sorrow for Andrea Castillo’s passing. Andrea, who grew up in Doral, graduated from one of our schools and worked for the city’s park department, was an example of a young woman committed to her family and her community.”

At this time, officials have no evidence to show that anyone involved in the collision was speeding.

The Castillo family said it has its own experts who will handle their own investigation.