Miami Beach is getting a reputation as a dangerous place to be during patriotic holiday weekends. First there were the two police-involved shootings on Memorial Day morning, one of which ended in the death of 22-year-old Raymond Herisse and led to a hot mess of bad publicity, including allegations of racism and a video showing one officer threaten a bystander with a gun, for the city’s police department.
And now, this:
The collision was set before dawn: An on-duty Miami Beach cop and a 27-year-old woman leave the Clevelander hotel bar, hop onto his ATV and speed toward the ocean. Meanwhile, Luis Almonte and a 28-year-old woman are on the beach.
By the time the ATV rocketed across the sand, it was too late for the pair to escape: The vehicle hurtled into Almonte and Kitzie Nicanor, their bodies crumpled on the ground.
Police said Monday they were still investigting why veteran officer Derick Kuilan, 30, was rushing down the popular beach in the wee hours of Sunday with his lights out — a woman in tow — when he was supposed to be working.
The joyride left Almonte at Mount Sinai Medical Center, “tubes stuck in his arms and a rod in his femur,” the Herald reports. Nicanor is in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Kuilan’s companion on the joyride received treatment after being thrown from the vehicle.
There are a lot of questions to be answered about this incident, including whether Kuilan went to the Clevelander to meet the 27-year-old woman, Adelee Sharie Martin, with another police officer. Not surprisingly, Miami Beach Police aren’t rushing to answer them.
Police refused to elaborate on the case Monday, saying only that Kuilan “had an unauthorized person on the ATV, which is in direct violation of departmental policy,” according to a statement released by spokesman Det. Juan Sanchez. They are also investigating the second police officer who was at the bar, but did not release the officer’s name.
Meanwhile, Jonnathan Adames, a Boston resident who came to Miami to celebrate Almonte’s 29th birthday, is not refusing to elaborate. He said he saw the ATV “emerge from the darkness”, go “screeching by”, and then: “crash bang.”
Adames said he ran to Almonte and Nicantor after witnessing the accident and found “their bodies curled motionless in the sand.” Then, at Kuilan’s directive, Adames ran to try and flag down a motorist. When he returned, the police officer was gone.
“I’m expecting him to protect us, and he disappears on us,” Adames told the Herald. “It’s not right.”
Miami Beach Police and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office are reportedly both investigating the incident.