Police: UPS driver doesn’t remember landing in bay

The UPS driver whose truck crashed into Biscayne Bay told police his brakes failed.

06/28/2012 5:00 AM

06/29/2012 6:11 AM

Driver Luis De La Paz crashed his iconic UPS brown van into a tree before it careened into Biscayne Bay.

He told police he didn’t remember how he ended up almost waist-deep in the bay, still strapped in his seat.

According to a Miami Shores Police report, De La Paz, 40, of Miramar, was driving east on 96th Street when something happened that caused his truck to speed through a stop sign, into a tree, through a guardrail, and into the water.

The package van landed in three to four feet of water.

De La Paz waded back to shore and told police his brakes gave out as he was going through the intersection of Northeast 10th Avenue and 96th Street. Police believe that intersection was actually Northeast 12th Avenue and 96th Street.

De La Paz’s truck is based in Hialeah, and his regular route detours away from the Miami Shores bayside at Northeast 10th Street, where he usually turns south. He said he stomped on the brakes, but the pedal wouldn’t give. He turned the wheel sharply to the right, clipping a large tree and peeling back part of the brown UPS truck’s roof and side.

Gordon Moyer told police he saw the truck run the 12th Avenue stop sign. Lele Tracy said she heard a crash and saw the truck speed up, and go into the bay.

But De La Paz told police he couldn't remember anything. He doesn’t remember righting himself on the road and speeding straight for the water. He doesn’t remember crashing through a metal guardrail. He doesn’t remember splashing into Biscayne Bay.

Except for a few cuts on his legs, De La Paz was unharmed. He soon started making phone calls. He later told police a car cut him off at the intersection.

When the truck was pulled from the water, the police report stated the brake pedal was “extremely firm and difficult to depress.” But, the report noted, the brake system could have gotten stuck after sitting in the water after the crash.

The report allowed for the possibility of mechanical error, human error, or a medical issue.

Police did not cite De La Paz because the crash into the tree could have knocked him unconscious or left him disoriented.

UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenburg said UPS will look over the truck to determine what caused the crash.

“It could be that it was something completely unavoidable for that driver,” she said.

Contacted at home, De La Paz’s wife told The Miami Herald that he did not want to comment.

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