Elizabeth Sanchez was killed when an unidentified driver caused an accident on the Florida Turnpike on Friday, according to local news reports. Sanchez, 37, was pronounced dead at Kendall Regional Hospital followin the accident, which also injured 29-year-old Bryan Echevarria. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are searching for the hit-and-run driver, who is believed to have been driving a light-colored Chrysler PT cruiser.
According to news sources, the fatal accident occurred on Friday night on the Florida Turnpike near Southwest 200 Streeet in Southest Miami-Dade. Echevaria was driving a Nissan Pathfinder, in which Sanchez was a passenger. It is not clear how the two are related. As the pair made their way down the turnpike, the PT Cruiser allegedly changer lanes direcyl into the Pathfinder. It is not clear how fast the vehicles were going, but the impact of the crash was enough to send the Pathfinder into a spin. It ended up facing southbound in a northbound lane, where a tow truck driven by 20-year-old Ernesto Diaz was unable to avoid a collision. The tow truck struck the Pathfinder head-on.
Following the accident, Sanchez and Echevarria were transported to Kendall Regional Hospital. Sanchez was pronounced dead shortly after. Diaz was unhurt in the accident, and the vehicle that originally struck the Pathfinder is not believed to have stopped, instead continuing norhtbound on the Turnpike. It is not clear how much damage the hit-and-run vehicle may have sustained, though any damage is likely to the driver’s side.
“I’m taken aback by this. I can’t believe that this happened,” said one of Sanchez’ family friends to the press following the crash. “This is not fair. How are you gonna kill someone and just run away?” Sanchez reportedly has two children, aged 15 and 16. “All I thought about was her kids,” the friend continued. “I didn’t know what to say about her kids. I feel so bad for her daughter.”
Not all traffic altercations end in such tragedy. In Sebastian, Florida, 49-year-old Lisa Tafuri was arrested over the weekend after she allegedly crashed into a parked police cruiser. Tafuri, who is not believed to have been injured in the accident, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence with property damage. She later bailed out of jail by paying $1,000, according to news reports. It is not clear whether Tafuri has hired a private criminal defense attorney.
According to press reports, the car accident occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Friday at the intersection of Jefferson Street and U.S. 1. Tafuri allegedly drove into an unoccupied patrol car that was parked in the southbound lane of U.S. 1. The cruiser reportedly had its’ emergency lights on, and the officer alleged that he had to run to avoid being hit by Tafuri’s vehicle. The officer was reportedly in the area investigating a different car accident.
Tafuri reportedly refused to take sobriety tests of both the brethalyzer and field variety. The arresting officer alleged that she was slurring her speech and could not stand up straight. It is not known where Tafuri was coming from or where she was headed.