MIAMI

Woman held in hit-run

 

cteproff@MiamiHerald.com

Univision 23 reporter Sandra Peebles had just finished her 6 p.m. live broadcast Monday from the scene of where a driver hit a father and son pair as they stood outside their work truck earlier in the day when a man came to her with a tip.

“He didn't want to get involved, but he told me where the car was,” said Peebles, who has been with the station for 15 years.

Peebles said she was so close to the address — Southwest 64th Avenue and Third street — so she checked it out. Sure enough, she spotted the tan-colored Ford Explorer that hit Ismael Martinez and Fadel Duarte. Martinez was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center with a severed leg and his son Duarte suffered bumps and bruises.

“I called 9-1-1 immediately and waited for them to arrive,” said Peebles.

By Monday night police had tracked down the driver, Johanna Cabrera, 31, at her grandmother’s house, which was only blocks from where the car was found. When asked by a Univision reporter whether she was behind the wheel, she said yes.

“She just kept saying she was sorry,” Peebles said, who had stayed on the scene until Cabrera was taken to jail.

Miami Sgt. Freddie Cruz said Tuesday that the media tip led police to Cabrera, who confessed to hitting the pair. Cabrera was charged with leaving the scene of a crash with an injury and driving with a suspended license.

“She was scared,” said Cruz of Cabrera, who was arrested in 2005 for petty theft. “She was fully cooperative and admitted to everything.”

Cabrera faced a judge Tuesday afternoon in bond court, where she said she had two children, didn’t work and couldn’t afford an attorney. The judge set her bond for $25,000. She will not be able to drive if she posts bond, the judge said.

When Duarte learned that police had arrested the driver he said he was “happy that she's detained.”

“Honestly it's a relief because it's unjust that she hit us,” said Duarte, who was still in pain Tuesday. Duarte was with his father at a job site at 701 SW 64th Ave. in Miami to lay concrete on a sidewalk when the SUV plowed into them and the truck. Duarte was pinned underneath, and Martinez’s leg was mangled.

“Justice will be in charge of her, we can't do anything else,” he said. The car that hit them is now in a Miami impound lot with extensive damage.

Melida Arroliga, Martinez’s wife of 12 years, told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 that she was “happy “ about the arrest.

“At least they did something,” she said outside Jackson Memorial Hospital “They helped.”

Duarte said Tuesday that his father was still in the hospital and doctors were fighting to save Martinez’s left leg.

“My dad is very depressed, he wants to accept it but he knows they might cut his leg off,” he said. “Anyone would be.”

Miami Herald news partner CBS4 contributed to this report.

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