Red South Beach Hotel front-desk clerk Angel Cuesta was arrested for his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run crash that caused the death of a pedestrian in Miami Beach, Florida. Cuesta faces charges for leaving the scene of an accident involving a death. The press did not list an attorney for him.
According to the arrest report, the alleged crash occurred at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday at 38th and Collins Avenue. Cuesta reportedly took a 2017 Chevrolet Cruz from the hotel’s valet station to buy a Red Bull at a Walgreens on 41st and Pine Tree Drive.
Cuesta purportedly drove the vehicle for eight blocks before striking a woman walking on a marked crosswalk at 38th and Collins Avenue. The pedestrian was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where she died later that day. Her identity has not been released, as police are still notifying her next of kin.
“Miami Beach Fire Rescue responded and transported the victim to JMH Ryder where unfortunately she died as a result of her injuries,” Ernesto Rodriguez of the Miami Beach Police Department told the press.
After his arrest, Cuesta told police that he tried to avoid striking the woman and admitted to seeing her on the ground after he hit her, but he still fled the scene.
“The defendant stated that he attempted an evasive maneuver to avoid the crash, however was unable to do so and struck the unknown pedestrian,” the arrest report said. “The defendant was able to see the unknown victim lying on the ground as he drove away.”
Cuesta allegedly never tried to contact authorities and attempted to hide the Chevrolet in a parking lot at 3535 Indian Creek. The vehicle had “extensive damage” on its bumper and left front side, the arrest report said. A witness reportedly told police that Cuesta was an employee at Red South Beach Hotel; he voluntarily turned himself in for questioning and was placed under arrest.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes in South Florida has been steadily rising over the past few years. The figures went up from 72,000 in 2012 to 99,004 in 2016. Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County have the highest number of hit-and-runs in Florida.
“I know hit-and-runs continue to be a problem,” said FHP spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky. “Unfortunately they continue to go up from previous years.”
Florida Highway Patrol ran a Stay At The Scene campaign at the beginning of the year to try and encourage drivers to remain at the scene of the crash, but Wysocky said it’s too soon to tell if it worked. Wysocky said there are several reasons why drivers flee the scene. Sometimes it’s because the driver has a suspended license or no insurance, or they may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In most cases, the driver is not at fault and may face little or no penalties if they remained at the scene.