Police

UM employee owns car involved in fatal Brickell hit and run

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Detectives have identified the black Mazda they believe killed a woman crossing Brickell Bay Drive in March — but there’s not enough evidence to show who was behind the wheel during the hit-and-run crash.

The car belongs to Joy Terry Lee Clayton, a University of Miami Law School administrator, according to a search warrant filed recently in court.

Clayton, in an ironic twist, works on campus with the sister of the victim, Ana Mares.

“To me, it’s important for the public to know more about the car, and to come forward with information about whoever was driving the car,” said sister Adriana Mares, the assistant director for UM’s Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. “We want justice for my sister.”

Said Joseph Rosenbaum, the Mares family lawyer: “They both work for the same employer. What are the odds? It’s a weird situation.”

The investigation by Miami police and the State Attorney’s Office is ongoing. Clayton’s attorney did not return phone calls from The Miami Herald.

Ana Mares, 52, who had recently survived a bout with breast cancer, worked as an administrator and paralegal for a Miami financial advising firm. She was a strong-willed woman who doted over her sister’s three children.

“She really lived for them,” Adriana Mares recalled. “There is nothing she wouldn’t do for my kids. She just adored them.”

On the night of March 22, the Mares sisters had gone to dinner at a Brickell-area Argentine restaurant. After the meal, Ana Mares was walking across Brickell Bay Drive to her car when the four-door G3 2010 Mazda plowed into her.

The car slowed down momentarily and then accelerated and kept driving, police say.

A father-and-son nearby rushed to Mares’ aid, calling 911 and using Ana Mares’ phone to dial the woman’s mother. Two days later, according to the search warrant, lawyer Bobby Hannat offered to surrender Clayton, who would not give a statement.

But authorities chose not to arrest Clayton because of a lack of evidence and witnesses — and once someone is booked into jail, they are entitled to a speedy trial.

Detectives found the Mazda parked outside Clayton’s Cutler Bay home. “The damage to the vehicle was consistent with a vehicle striking a human being,” according to a search warrant.

Investigators also found a red hair — similar to those of Ana Mares’ hair — embedded in the broken glass of the Mazda’s windshield, according to the warrant.

Anyone with information call Miami traffic homicide detectives at 305-603-6525, or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

Read more Afternoon Update stories from the Miami Herald

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