Posted January 30, 2015
By SHAKIRA MOLET
A college student from the University of Maryland was arrested yesterday after hitting two cyclists near Bear Cut Bridge in Key Biscayne, killing one and seriously injuring the other before fleeing the scene.
Alejandro Alvarez, 21, is a resident of Key Biscayne who was driving home from Miami Beach after a night of drinking. While changing lanes, Alvarez was looking at his phone when he struck two cyclists at 5:22 a.m., then left the scene and rushed home.
When asked about the details of accident, Key Biscayne Village Council member James Tainter, stated, “after getting home, a panicked Alvarez grabbed a golf club and began hitting his car in an attempt to claim that his car was stolen. Fortunately, his parents intervened and forced him to return to the scene of the accident about 20 minutes later.”
Once at the scene, Alvarez admitted to the police that he hit both of the cyclists while crying “hysterically.”
One of the victims, 50-year-old Walter Reyes, was the chief financial officer at the South Florida real-estate firm Keyes Co., and was pronounced dead at the scene. The other cyclist, Henry Hernandez, is a Coral Gables attorney and is in critical condition at Mercy Hospital.
The car involved in the accident, a gray 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, had two large indentations, suggesting that the cyclists impacted the windshield, and a broken rear view mirror, which was smashed by Alvarez with the golf club. The car will continue to be examined by the Miami-Dade traffic homicide team in efforts to determine exactly how the cyclists were hit.
In the past five years, five people have been involved with hit and run accidents in Key Biscayne, three deaths and two serious injuries; however, Florida’s death rate for cyclists is three times higher than the national rate. It is because of this fact that citizens have begun speaking out on the matter.
“I know exercise is important, but is it worth your life to go cycling at 5 a.m.? The past few times cyclists have been involved in fatal car accidents, its been around the same time and the same area because of drivers under the influence. I think cyclists should be wary of that and avoid those circumstances,” said Rita Jaffe, a Key Biscayne resident.
Though some may agree with the idea that cyclists should be aware of drivers at all times, others say that it is the driver’s responsibility to be wary of cyclists, not the other way around.
Cyclist Richard Blanco declared, “waking up early in the morning to exercise is routine for most cyclists. Cyclists have the right to ride whenever they want and because of the bicycle traffic law, it’s the driver’s responsibility to be aware and treat cyclists with respect. This is a tragedy and it needs to stop.”