A Miami man died Friday followig a car crash in Key Largo, becoming the 14th traffic fatality in the Keys handled by the Florida Highway Patrol since the beginning of the year.
Troopers said that about 5:15 p.m., Cesar Gomez, 25, of Key Largo was driving a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta west on Fishermans Trail around mile marker 98. Melanie Link, 33, of Tavernier was driving south on U.S. 1 in a 2004 Lexus in the inside lane.
She was turning left onto Fishermans Trail when Gomez tried to pull into U.S. 1 and struck her car; Gomez drove away southbound on U.S. 1. As he did, his car struck that of Luis Bolivar, 80, of Miami, driving a 2016 Cadillac CT6, troopers said. Bolivar’s car veered to the right, then into a parking lot. He struck a utility pole and trailer that was parked.
Boliver was taken to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier, where he was declared dead. Gomez, caught, was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. So was Bolivar’s passenger, Clara Bolivar, 77, in critical condition. Link and her passenger were taken to Mariners with possible injuries.
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Troopers said traffic was an issue for 2 1/2, mostly because there were “people slowing to look at the scene.” Charges are pending against Gomez.
Earlier in the day in Marathon, two Middle Keys residents were airlifted by helicopter ambulance to Miami following a crash.
Troopers said Jose Pereira Lara, 29, was driving a 2001 Ford north about 3 p.m. at mile marker 52. Leonardo Pena Rojas, 47, was driving a 2015 Kia south. Lara jumped the median and hit the Kia head-on. Teri Beth Swedenberg, 54, of Austin, Texas, was also driving south, in a 2010 Toyota. As a result of the first crash, she plowed into Rojas’ Kia.
She had minor injuries. Lara and Rojas were airlifted to Ryder.
Later that night, a car went into the water at mile marker 110 on the 18-Mile Stretch linking Key Largo to Florida City. Details of that crash are pending.
Larry Kahn: 305-440-3218