An attorney representing the families of two Cuban businessmen and life partners killed last week in a bridge collapse near Florida International University said Tuesday she would be filing a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf.
Alberto Arias, 53, and Osvaldo González, 57, were pulled from beneath nearly 1,000 tons of concrete and steel on Saturday morning. The two, who had been in a romantic relationship for more than 20 years, died inside their white Chevy truck while they drove underneath a pedestrian bridge meant to connect FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique campus to the city of Sweetwater by crossing above Southwest Eighth Street.
Yesenia Collazo, a Doral-based attorney, hosted a press conference on Tuesday at her law office to talk about the lawsuit, which she said will not be filed until both men are buried side by side on Wednesday. Collazo said that the fact that Southwest Eighth Street was not barricaded while construction crews conducted a stress test on the bridge is of particular significance.
“We are attacking this lawsuit as a quest for information,” Collazo said. “The family is asking very simple questions, and we’re not able to give them those answers.”
Arias and González were the owners of Classic Design Party Rental and had planned a trip to Cuba together.
Arias’ elderly mother had planned on moving into the Kendall-area home he shared with González. After eating breakfast at his mother’s apartment the morning of the accident, Arias told his mother he and González would be back that night and that he loved her.
He asked her to make his favorite dish: picadillo.
“Alberto’s mom was expecting him back and she started calling his phone, and she heard that something happened and they lived in the area,” Collazo said. “She said she knew when he didn’t pick up her phone call and they saw his vehicle on the news.”
The cause of the collapse remains unknown — an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is ongoing — but two civil suits filed this week on behalf of survivors claim that the firms involved in the construction of the project acted negligently.
Collazo was joined at the press conference by Luis Arias, Alberto’s nephew; Marisol González, Osvaldo’s sister, and Erik Rojas, his nephew.
The men were remembered for being the life of every party they attended and always putting the needs of others ahead of theirs.
A joint visitation for the men will take place beginning at 6 p.m. at Caballero Rivero Woodlawn South in Miami, 14200 SW 117th Ave. A religious service will be held Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., followed by burial at 10.
“They were two beautiful beings. They were soul mates,” nephew Luis Arias said. “They traveled together, they experienced life together, they celebrated life together and up until their final moment, they were together.”