17-year-old Angel Lopez was fatally struck by a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper while riding a bike in SW Miami-Dade.
The FHP trooper, who has been identified as Aliek Sierra, was driving west on Killian Parkway when he struck and killed the teen.
Surveillance footage from a nearby restaurant shows Lopez getting off a bus with his bike and then riding south across Killian Parkway. The teen rode through the middle of block without a crosswalk or stop light. One vehicle narrowly missed him, but Sierra’s vehicle crashed into him, causing damage to the front-end of the squad car and smashing its windshield.
Lopez died at the scene. Sierra was not hurt.
During a news conference on Tuesday morning, the Lopez family’s attorney vowed a thorough investigation of the accident.
“We are here to ensure that there is an honest and accurate investigation into the events that occurred on Friday of this past weekend,” attorney Josiah Graham of Fort Lauderdale told the press.
Graham said he doesn’t trust the FHP to honestly answer questions about whether Sierra was speeding, or distracted, or whether he attempted to stop his car before he struck Lopez. His firm will use surveillance videos from nearby businesses in their investigation. The video obtained by news sources shows Sierra’s vehicle struck Lopez without slowing down.
“We understand that Florida Highway Patrol is doing their own investigation, but from experience when the police investigate their own, we are going to do our own on our end to make sure that every ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ is crossed and we are going to the bottom of everything that happened,” Graham said.
An FHP spokesman said the department is going to conduct a “thorough, transparent and complete investigation as quickly as possible.” If Sierra contributed to the accident in any way, whether through distraction, speed, or anything else, the FHP will disclose that information.
“The Florida Highway Patrol is absolutely heartbroken over the tragic loss of Angel Lopez. The Patrol understands the tremendous effect traffic crashes have and my prayers are with everyone impacted,” said FHP Director Col. Gene Spaulding.
Angel’s father also spoke during the press conference.
“He was an amazing kid, an amazing young man. He was more than just my son, he was my best friend,” Norberto Lopez told the press on Tuesday. “He’s just my kid, beyond his years to be honest. He would impress me with knowledge that I didn’t even know.”
Angel was a member of his school’s JROTC unit and was planning to follow in his father’s footsteps and enlist in the army after graduation, his family said. The family set up a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the teen’s funeral.
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