Miami-Dade County

Terminate officer who failed to help injured UM students, Pinecrest police chief says

Pinecrest Police Chief Samuel Ceballos Jr. sidestepped a recommendation to suspend an officer who village investigators found failed to help two college students hit by a car, and instead is suggesting she be fired.

Last month, an internal investigation by Pinecrest police found that officer Ana Carrasco failed to assist two University of Miami students struck on Kendall Drive in October.

Ying Chen, 27, and Hao Liu, 26, died from their injuries despite attempts by Miami Police Sgt. Javier Ortiz to resuscitate them. Ortiz was off-duty and at a nearby CVS when he heard the crash and responded.

He later complained to a supervisor at the scene that Carrasco ignored his pleas to help the victims, only going to her car to retrieve a pair of rubber gloves that she gave to him.

After an internal look into Carrasco’s actions, village Internal Affairs officers supported Ortiz’s claim, and passed their findings on to Carrasco’s supervisor, who recommended she get a five-day suspension. Carrasco appealed the decision, and Wednesday, the chief offered his recommendation.

If Carrasco, who has not responded to repeated interview requests, again chooses to appeal the decision, Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez will conduct a hearing and have final say.

The issue received public attention after Ortiz, the president of Miami’s Fraternal Order of Police, took issue with Pinecrest labeling him the complainant on the 32-page internal affairs probe into Carrasco.

Ortiz said he didn’t give a statement to Pinecrest police until they contacted him Nov. 5. Pinecrest says the moment Ortiz complained to Carrasco’s supervisor at the scene of the tragedy, he became the lead complainant in the internal investigation.

Related stories from Miami Herald