Almost every day for the last three years, Braulio “Ozzie” Perez would get up at about 4 a.m. to ride his bicycle around his Northwest Miami-Dade neighborhood with his buddy “to get in shape,” family friend Jeff Vance said.
Monday would be his last ride.
A driver of a stolen car lost control and slammed into Perez, 67, a husband, father and grandfather.
“Unfortunately this gentleman lost his life tragically, and the driver didn’t even stop to render aid to the victim,” Miami-Dade Detective Marjorie Eloi said.
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Perez was heading west in the 5900 block of Northwest 199th Street in the bike lane, according to Vance.
“He was doing everything right,” Vance said, adding that Perez used flashing lights and wore a helmet. “They were getting ready to do one more loop and come home.”
Late Monday, police said they arrested an 18-year-old in connection with the crash.
Police said Jonathan Alexander Taylor was driving a stolen four-door 2014 silver Mazda 6 when he lost control of the vehicle. He jumped the median and began traveling eastbound in the westbound lane where he struck Perez. The Hialeah teen then took off running.
Taylor was charged with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene and driving without a valid license.
Perez was taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he died.
Vance said Perez, who worked at the Magic City Casino, was a family man whose world centered around his wife, three sons and grandsons.
“This family will never be the same,” he said.