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Leighton Law Case Featured on Local10.com – Lawsuit Filed Against City of Hialeah

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Leighton Law’s John Leighton brought suit against the City of Hialeah for the grossly negligent driving of its police officer.  Marco Barrios, Leighton’s client, was seriously injured in the crash.  His girlfriend, Andrea Castillo, was killed.

The Hialeah police officer who broadsided Mr. Barrios, Raul Somarriba, was driving his unmarked police car without any lights or siren. He was traveling in excess of 80 MPH in Hialeah when he struck Barrios’ SUV, rolling it over and causing massive damage.  Much of this was caught on surveillance video.

Hialeah Police made public statements in the days following the crash that Marco Barrios failed to stop at the stop sign, was traveling at an illegally high rate of speed, and failed to use the seat belts in the car.  Each of these claims were shown to be demonstrably and knowingly false.  Yet the City of Hialeah continued to make these false false statements in the hopes of supporting their grossly negligent police officer, who never gave an explanation about why he was speeding without lights and siren.  He had not been dispatched on an emergency call.

Under the law, even if a police officer is speeding in an emergency situation, they must driving within the speed limit or only above it enough for the circumstances, and must then still yield to traffic.

By all accounts Somarriba violated the laws and policies of his own department, which ultimately cost Ms. Castillo her life and left Marco Barrios with permanent injuries.

On the night of the crash, Marco and Andrea had stopped at gas station on their way out to celebrate Andrea’s birthday. They had nothing alcoholic to drink and at all times Marco was operating his SUV safely.

This is the Local10 ABC news story covering the filing of the lawsuit:

 

http://www.local10.com/news/lawsuit-filed-against-city-of-hialeah/-/1717324/20034332/-/ep8qu4/-/index.html

Local10.com – Lawsuit filed against city of Hialeah

 

Woman killed after crash with Hialeah police cruiser

Published On: May 06 2013 02:37:02 PM EDT   Updated On: May 07 2013 12:27:03 PM EDT

_lawsuit_filled_09_05_2013

 

HIALEAH, Fla. –

A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Hialeah regarding a fatal car crash that took the life of 21-year-old Andrea Castillo and critically injured 23-year-old Marco Barrios.

The crash, which involved a Hialeah police cruiser, happened on Oct. 19, 2012 at the corner of East 9th Court and 49th Street in Hialeah.

Barrios’ attorney, John Leighton, says he obtained new surveillance tape from a car dealership across the street from where the incident happened.

The surveillance tape reportedly shows what happened just after the 2012 black Jeep driven by Barrios was broadsided by a cruiser driven by Hialeah Police Officer Raul Somarriba.

The crash sparked controversy after Castillo’s mother, Miami-Dade School Board member Susie Castillo, questioned the decision to transport Somarriba to the hospital via air rescue, while her daughter was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Susie Castillo believes her daughter may have survived if she had been taken to the hospital by air rescue like the officer was.

 

 

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