Arrest made in hit-and-run crash that injured father and son

Surgeons at Jackson Memorial Hospital rush to try to save the nearly severed leg of a 49-year-old father.

12/16/2013 10:26 AM

12/17/2013 11:32 AM

As Fadel Duarte lay pinned underneath a pickup truck, he heard his father nearby screaming in pain.

He never saw the tan Ford Explorer SUV that came barreling at him and his father as they prepared Monday morning to lay concrete at a job site. The SUV crashed into father and son, pinning Duarte underneath and leaving Ismael Martinez with a nearly severed leg.

Then it continued on, without stopping.

“It was something that just shocked me,” Duarte said Monday afternoon in Spanish from the family’s Sweetwater home. “I couldn't react. I heard my dad's screams calling me. He was looking for me, in pain, but I couldn't see him because I was under the truck.”

By Monday afternoon, doctors at Jackson Memorial’s Ryder Trauma Center were scrambling to keep from amputating Martinez’s mangled leg.

Meanwhile, police made an arrest late Monday after family members pleaded for the public’s help in finding the driver. Johanna Cabrera, 31, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and injuries, and driving without a license, police said Tuesday.

A witness who saw the crash followed the SUV, police said. Police found her at her grandmother's house, where she was arrested.

Cabrera told police "she did not know that she had hit a human being," according to the police report.

Duarte, 29, was treated and released after the hit-and-run. But later on, he was in pain from head-to-toe, he said. The father-son team had worked together at his dad’s business, Martinez Concrete, for 10 years.

“They gave me a 30 percent chance that they can save his leg,” said Martinez’s wife Mileta Arroliga, as she sat and waited for her husband of 12 years to get out of surgery.

Arroliga’s friend Eva Olivera, who sat by her side, said Martinez, 49, is “a good person, great dad and great husband.”

While the family waited in quiet desperation at the hospital, Miami police looked for the driver of the Ford Explorer with a broken right brake light, tinted windows and missing left mirror.

Duarte said that he and his father had just dropped off Martinez’s younger children, ages 5 and 9, at school and headed to a concrete job at 701 SW 64th Ave. in Miami.

Martinez pulled to the side of the street and parked the truck and they both got out.

Without any warning, Duarte said he was hit and his body ended up under the truck.

Late Monday, Duarte was watching his younger siblings, and praying for a miracle as he thought about his father, who immigrated to South Florida from Nicaragua more than 20 years ago and started a business in pursuit of the American dream.

“He's the head of the family,” Duarte said. “He keeps everyone together. He's the most beautiful man. He's hardworking.”

Miami Herald news partner CBS4 contributed to this report.

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